Thailand takes out Gold at international ‘Young Chef Culinary Olympics’ in Tasmania
24 May 2012 – The team from the Thailand Culinary Academy was last night announced as the winner of the 5th global final of the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Black Box Culinary Challenge – a prestigious international chef’s competition that brings together the crme de la crme of young chefs from some of the world's most highly acclaimed kitchens from five star hotels, restaurants, hotel and catering schools.
First and second runners up in the competition were Indonesia’s Bvlgari hotel and Australia’s Henry Jones Art Hotel respectively.
To reach this point, the 60 young chefs from 15 countries have competed in grueling national heats conducted over the last 3 years. The ecstatic Thai team has been awarded a $5,000 cash prize and the opportunity to working experience in highly regarded restaurant. They now join the stable of internationally acclaimed chefs including MasterChef’s George Calombaris, who was a competitor in the global final in 2005.
For the Grand Finale on Wednesday, 23 May, 15 finalist teams from countries including USA , Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia, China, UAE, Mauritius, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam and Egypt, were presented with a mystery ‘Black Box’ of Tasmanian fresh ingredients (including lamb rump, beef brisket, fresh wasabi, ocean trout and King Island cheese) and given only one hour to devise a four-course menu, which was judged on taste, creativity and artistic merit.
According to Phonganan Sirisaengphaiwan, captain for Thai team they are incredibly thrilled to have won the global MLA Black Box Culinary Challenge final. “This event has given us an unforgettable opportunity to represent our country, cook alongside top young chefs from around the world and experience Tasmanian produce first-hand – and working with innovative cuts of Australian beef and lamb has been an educational experience.”
Since its inception in 1996 around 4,000 young chefs from over 20 countries have prepared approximately 224,000 meals, cooked with more than 6,000kg of Australian beef and flown 930,000 miles since the Black Box Culinary Challenge was first introduced. Tim Kelf, MLA’S Manager – International Market Projects who has been involved with the event since it began said, “The standard of this competition in Hobart was the most competitive ever with the caliber of food being consistently high.”
Part of the Savour Tasmania program, the MLA Black Box was designed to showcase Australia’s home-grown ‘food bowl’ on an international scale. The Savour Tasmania program also features a Feast of Chefs on Saturday, 26 May – an event hosted by Iron Chef Australia’s Richard Cornish, where the international teams from the Black Box Challenge will present a signature dish from their home countries as the main course as well as presenting a dessert.
The major sponsors of the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Black Box Culinary Challenge were JBS Australia, Quest Apartments, The Tasmanian Polytechnic, Tasmanian Salmon Growers Association, Moffatt Pty Ltd and Nestle Pty Ltd.
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