Two young New Zealand chefs - Lilly Boles and Joosje Bouman – were each awarded triple bronze medals at the prestigious Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award competition held in Sydney this week.
Boles and Bouman, aged 19 and 22 years respectively, impressed the judges with the execution and delivery of their three-course menus to earn the haul of bronze medals.
This was the first time that both of them had competed at the Grand Finals. Boles won the North Island regional heat of the competition earlier this year. A student chef at AUT, she entered the Trans-Tasman event because she likes to challenge herself and pick up every opportunity she can while training to become a chef.
Representing the South Island at the event, Bouman is no stranger to culinary competitions, having competed in the Golden Chefs regional finals last year. Bouman said she decided to enter the competition again because she had learnt a lot from the judges and really enjoyed the whole experience.
Both competitors were up against ten other young top chefs from across Australia who were all vying to be crowned Golden Chef of the Year. They developed and perfected their three-course menus in the lead-up to the live cook-off.
Bole’s menu comprised a warm vichyssoise of leek and potato, wattle seed tofu and chilli. Main was sous-vide Murray Cod, turned potatoes, beetroot, asparagus and vermouth beurre blanc. Her dessert was lemon thyme and honey panna cotta, raspberries, shortbread crumbs and Nestlé Docello Snowcap cremeux.
Bouman’s menu was a ravioli entrée with a homemade ricotta and spinach mix on a tomato base sauce, served with a shaved asparagus salad. Her main was pan-fried Murray cod, served with a beurre blanc, gremolata, pickled mushroom, and crispy potatoes. For dessert, she created a frangipane, caramelised pear, caramel sauce, macadamia, and oat crumb served with a tuille.
The chefs are judged by expert judges from the Australian Culinary Federation, NZChefs and Nestlé Professional, who assess professional practices, presentation and the all-important taste factor, all to globally recognised standards.
NZChefs judge, Darren Wright, said being part of the Golden Chef’s Hat competition has given the next generation of chefs the opportunity to put themselves to the test, improve their cooking skills and connect with like-minded chefs as well as the broader industry.
“Both Lilly and Joosje delivered some stand-out dishes on the day while under immense pressure. Just to make it this far and then to win medals is a tremendous achievement that they should be hugely proud of,” said Wright.
The overall winner of the event was Melbourne chef Jimmy Han. He won a two-week European culinary experience, valued at $10,000, to travel with the Australian Culinary Olympics Junior Team to the IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart, Germany. He was also awarded a culinary work experience in Europe, plus a bespoke set of beautifully crafted KOI Knives.
For nearly six decades, Nestlé Golden Chefs has proudly supported more than 7,500 chefs to advance their culinary careers across Australia and New Zealand.