CPIT Tutor has fun judging ‘Muster Chef’
CPIT School of Hospitality Tutor Paul Robinson showed off his culinary skills at the Ellesmere A and P Show last weekend before fulfilling his judging duties as local celebrities took to the kitchen for ‘Muster Chef’ 2011. The new event was initiated by Robinson and A&P President Dennis Carter to promote country food in Leeston. This year’s challenge was based on the arable industry, suitably themed ‘going with the grain’.
Well-known locals thrilled crowds in the Muster Chef heats, preparing a set menu of a Mediterranean wrap and an omelette. It was a tough challenge, requiring competitors to use a range of cooking techniques and an even tougher challenge for Robinson as a judge. “When it came to judging the heats I wanted to see a meal that was attractive, tasty and cooked to perfection. The competition was very close,” he said.
Robinson selected finalists Selwyn MP Amy Adams and Southbridge School principal Wendy Huriwai for a mystery box cook off. They were challenged with creating an innovative dish using a range of local ingredients including venison and Portobello mushrooms. “The finalists showed a synergy in the use of ingredients and I was delighted with their dishes. It was a tough decision selecting the winner,” Robinson said.
He was wowed with Adams’ Cervena dish and her ability to cook under pressure. “She even dropped a pan of onions and mushrooms and just took a breath and started over,” Robinson said. “Muster Chef was a great opportunity to see other cooks at work and give them some tips. On the whole I was very impressed,” he said. Adams came out on top and was awarded a trophy for her efforts.
Robinson is excited about developing the event further next year and would like to see even more locals involved. Regional produce will also play a greater role, combined with high class ingredients. His tip for next year’s entrants is that “Cooking is all about doing a lot of little things well.”