Queen's High School culinary arts pupils Lauren Wright (left) and Abby Johnson practise their knife skills as they prepare to represent the southern region at the New Zealand Secondary Schools' Culinary Challenge in Auckland. Photo by Linda Robertson.
The culinary arts profession is filled with challenges -
sharp knives, allergic reactions to certain nuts and spices,
and hot stoves.
Working with leeks is not traditionally one of them, but for
Abby Johnson (16), they pose a problem, because they make her
cry - more so than onions.
And when she and fellow Queen's High School pupil Lauren
Wright (17) had to slice and dice large amounts of leeks to
make their leek, feta and humus tartlet with balsamic glaze
at the Southern Secondary Schools' Culinary Challenge in
Timaru recently, they well and truly earned their selection
for the national final in Auckland in September.
The duo had to prepare, cook and present four individually
plated entrees and mains in 90 minutes.
The entrees had to contain fresh New Zealand-grown leek as
the principal component, and the mains had to include at
least three fresh New Zealand-grown vegetables and a chicken
breast (skin on and bone in).
The duo won selection for the national final against
competitors from secondary schools from Christchurch to
Invercargill, with their tartlet entree and their main -
chicken supreme with mushroom sauce, potato puree, tomato
parachutes and buttered green beans.
''We're stoked,'' Lauren said.
''We're over the moon. And we're looking forward to going to
Auckland and representing the southern region.''
They won a gift pack from vegetables.co.nz, a chef's jacket
each to wear at the final, and more than $1000 for travel to
Their school gets 20 Dudson plates for hospitality
competitions and a $500 Bidvest voucher.
As yet, the girls have no idea what they will be expected to
cook in the national final.
But Abby hopes it will not involve leeks.