Campbelltown Performing Arts High School hosted about 20 students from across south west Sydney for a mini Masterchef-style competition today.
The event was the second of three heats in the Wordskills competition and saw teenagers from VET (Vocational Education and Training) courses cook and present a three-course meal for a range of judges.
Those studying commercial cookery composed the dishes while their teammates from the food and beverage course were tasked with providing a first-class dining experience for judges.
The competition is aimed at mimicking the kitchen to plate process of real cafes and restaurants.
Cookery students had to make the same entree (bruschetta) and dessert (lemon polenta cake) but were given a bit of artistic freedom when it came to the main meal.
For her main, Campbelltown Performing Arts High School student Tabitha Maclean cooked a baked chicken rolled with kale with a side of carrots and green beans.
She said the recipe for success for a perfect cooked chicken was “consistency”.
“The key to cooking chicken well is knowing how thick the meat is so you can cook it consistently,” she said.
“It’s best to have the same thickness (throughout the cut). You should also consider the method of cooking based on the thickness.”
Tabitha said she was feeling good throughout the cook.
“I’m confident I know what I’m doing and that I have the time to do it,” she said.
Natalia Reyno from Good Samaritan Catholic College in Hinchinbrook said there were a few little twists that would make her bruschetta stand out.
“I use different types of flavour like lemon plus extra olive oil,” she said.
“The bread has to be toasted and there has to be tonnes of garlic.”
Judges Michael Everett and Paul Smith kept a close eye on what was happening in the kitchen.
Mr Everett said their main aim was to observe.
“We don’t really tell them anything. It’s not really about helping out (while they are cooking),” he said.
“But we also want to make sure they have fun.
“We don’t want them to think that it’s a Mastchef competition – there isn’t $500,000 up for grabs.”
Mr Smith said multitasking, organisation and preparation would have a major influence on the end product.
“If you have something on the oven or on the stove, you have to be also cutting something at the same time. You need to do be able to do all the things at once,” he said.