College chefs show they are masters of craft

Cumberland College chefs Dylan Henry (left) and Brian King put the finishing touches to their two...
Cumberland College chefs Dylan Henry (left) and Brian King put the finishing touches to their two dishes, for which they won third place in the 2013 Residential College Chef of the Year competition at the University of Otago last night. Photo by Linda Robertson.
They make 2.5 million meals a year, and last night Dunedin's residential college chefs proved they know how to put together a plate.

Abbey College took top honours against eight other teams in the 2013 Residential College Chef of the Year competition, held in the link building at the University of Otago.

Head chef Wade Kennard and kitchen hand Owen Newbould impressed judges with their two dishes, created entirely in 70 minutes on little more than a makeshift kitchen bench with a gas hob.

Their only compulsory ingredient was a can of cola, which came in a mystery box alongside rabbit, crayfish and scallops.

Mr Kennard braised rabbit in the soft drink and paired it with Peking duck pancakes, a salad and chilli caramel sauce.

Mr Newbould created scallops two ways: seared with fondant potato, pea mash and red pepper sauce, and ceviche.

The duo have entered all four annual competitions, placing second in the first year (2010) and third last year.

Judge Tony Heptinstall, head of hospitality at Otago Polytechnic, said the Abbey chefs' two dishes complemented one another, but ultimately the competition was very close between the top three placings.

William Pickup and Richard Wilmshurst, of Studholme College, came second, and Cumberland College chefs Dylan Henry and Brian King were third.

Seven points out of 100 separated the top teams, who were also judged by Helen Mason, of Two Chefs, and Shane Gibson, of Southern Hospitality, which was the event's main sponsor.

Competition organiser and college catering manager Gary McNeill said more teams were entering the event each year. There were 14 residential colleges in Dunedin and each of them was invited to enter up to two teams, he said.

Other colleges taking part last night were University, Hayward, Knox and Salmond combined, Carrington, Aquinas, and Toroa and Cumberland Court combined.

Mr McNeill said residential college chefs and kitchen staff were the ''unsung heroes'' of the university campus.

''They produce 2.5 million meals a year and this competition highlights their roles.

"It puts them out of their comfort zones and shows us what they are really capable of, because in the colleges they are restricted by what they can produce in high numbers within a budget.''



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