Taking on Australia’s best young chefs

24 Jun, 2024
Taking on Australia’s best young chefs

Emily Morgan is off to the final of the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award competition in September.

The AUT culinary arts student won the North Island regionals this month and will now vie with the best chefs under 25 years of age from Australia and New Zealand to be crowned Golden Chef of the Year.

“When I found out I won … it was a very overwhelming and rewarding feeling,” Emily says.

“There were a lot of tears before the competition with all the pressure building up, but once I was in there, I found it was really enjoyable. I got focused and went into that zone - and then having that reward when I came out of it, was just a great feeling.

“I know the expectation in Melbourne will be a lot higher, but I will work as hard as I can with the support from all my teachers. It will be a really good experience and I’m looking forward to it.”

At the North Island regionals contestants had to cook a chicken main course as well as turn out a dessert using a limited pantry of supplies, in just two and a half hours. Three heats were held over two days.

To win, Emily served up a chicken roulade with mushroom and Swiss chard, complete with gnocchi, a carrot puree and a reduction made from chicken stock.

For the dessert she prepared a pear tarte tartin, served hot with caramel sauce over shortbread, as well as a chocolate coffee cremeux.

The five student chefs in their whites standing in a row, looking at the camera. THE AUT STUDENT CHEFS WHO COMPETED AT THE NESTLÉ GOLDEN CHEF’S HAT AWARD NORTH ISLAND REGIONAL FINAL.

She was one of five student chefs from AUT who competed at the North Island regional competition. The other four – Su jung Lee, Samaria Currimbhoy, Aislin Champion and Alyx Jones – all placed highly. All five also did well at the NZ Chefs Association Te Pūkenga Secondary and Tertiary Training Hospitality Competition a few weeks earlier - but prior to that did not have competition experience.

“It is so rewarding seeing young chefs at AUT be bold enough to do the competitions. Not everyone has the courage, especially if it’s their first time,” culinary arts Lecturer Geoff Scott says.

“To see them nervously put their toes in the water and give it a go is just amazing. It’s a big step of faith and trust going out there into the unknown. I am proud of their high standard of professionalism, skill, hygiene, organization and time-management. They knew what they were doing as they worked on stage under the lights against other chefs.

“Now for Emily the hard work begins, the training, the planning and getting organized.”

This will be the second year in a row that an AUT student represents the North Island at the Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat Award in Australia.

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