CPIT student’s winning cheesecake creation
CPIT student Zane Neutroski is heading across the ditch to compete against Australasia’s top trainee chefs after securing his place as a finalist in the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef Competition last week.
His original goat’s cheese cheesecake received rave reviews from the judges who commented on his unique combination of ingredients and textures. “I wanted to bring different components together with my dish to surprise the judges. I always aim to surprise,” Neutroski said.
The young chef credits his success to his CPIT training and the guidance of his mentors at the Pescatore restaurant in Christchurch. “CPIT has given me a basic knowledge of food and the ability to think outside the square. I have learned from experience that a great dish can be created by preparing something traditional with a slight twist, presented in a simple and elegant way,” he said. “This is exactly what I did with my cheesecake”.
The competition heats in Auckland called for trainees to show off their knife skills and to make an omelette, basic abilities Neutroski has perfected through his classes at CPIT’s School of Hospitality. Contestants then had two hours to create an original dish in front of the judges, using at least one Fonterra product.
Neutroski believes that being able to work under pressure is an essential trait for a chef and preparing a dish under the judges’ watchful eyes was a valuable learning experience. “This task was by far the most challenging part of the competition, with the judges looking on and having to multi-task, all while carefully thinking about my hygiene and organisation,” he says.
He is now focused on the finals early next year where he will spend three days taking master classes with some of Australia’s top chefs before competing for the grand prize of a $7500 scholarship, tailored to the winners aspirations.
Neutroski dreams of going to London and if successful he plans to use the scholarship to gain work experience under some of the top 100 chefs in the world.