Southern Secondary Schools' Culinary Challenge Winners

Caption: Queen’s High School Culinary Arts students, Lauren Wright (left) and Abby Johnson, practising their knife skills.

Congratulations to Queen’s High School Culinary Arts students, Lauren Wright and Abby Johnson for their win in the Southern Secondary Schools’ Culinary Challenge held recently in Timaru. The duo had to prepare, cook and present four individually plated entrées and mains in 90 minutes.

The entrées 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 culinary arts profession is filled with challenges – sharp knives, allergic reactions to certain nuts and spices, and hot stoves – however, leeks are not usually one of them. But leeks make Abby cry, even more so than onions, so slicing and dicing a lot of leeks for their entrée was definitely a challenge for her.

The duo won selection for the National Final against competitors from secondary schools from Christchurch to Invercargill, with their Leek, feta and humus tartlet with balsamic glaze entrée and their Chicken supreme with mushroom sauce, potato purée, tomato parachutes and buttered green beans main.

They won a gift pack from vegetables.co.nz, chefs jackets to wear at the final, and $1000 for travel to the final. Their school receives a $500 Bidvest voucher and 20 Dudson plates for Hospitality Competitions. Lauren and Abby said that they were looking forward to representing the southern region at the National Finals in Auckland, in September.

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