Masterchef competition heats up

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Four teams of junior chefs have secured their place in the semi finals of the UAE’s first ever Anchor MasterChef competition, fighting off competition from some of the top hotels in the country.

After an intense two days of basting, tasting, toasting and roasting, the teams – consisting of one hot kitchen chef and one pastry chef – were whittled down from a total of twenty next-generation gourmets, representing kitchens from Emirates Towers Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, Grosvenor House Hotel, Coral Boutique Hotel, Emirates Golf Club, Westin Mina Seyahi Hotel and Hilton Jumeriah Hotel.

Today, the semi finalists face a ‘mystery ingredients’ round to test their imagination, inspiration and culinary flair to secure their place in the final. Peter Hallmanns, Advisory Chef for Fonterra brands, who are hosting the competition, said the skills and standards in the first round brought out some exceptional talent.

“The teams had to prepare a three course meal under a lot of time pressure, but the variety of signature dishes really emphasized the remarkable abilities of the chefs. It must be very reassuring to the hotels and restaurants in the UAE and indeed the GCC that not only is this level of talent available now, but with the right encouragement, it will be there for the future of the region.”

Ovin Rubello and Thirumala Murugan from Hilton Jumeirah are up against Bernard James and Hussein Deniz from Grosvenor House, while Edward Mair and Jay Williams from Westin Mina Siyahi will compete against Demas Tri Saputra Latief and Dharshana Yatiwawala from Emirates Towers in the semi-finals.

“It’s great to be given this kind of stage to perform on,” said Edward Mair. “Being a chef is very much about being creative and we are all artists and performers to some extent. The competition is extremely tough and the kitchen time is fair, but short, but it’s a great experience for all of us,” he added.

For Demas Tri Suptra, who is through to the semi-final with Dharshana Yatiwawala from Emirates Towers, the Anchor MasterChef competition is a great way to highlight cuisine as a career option in the Middle East. “It’s not really thought of as an obvious choice, mainly because people don’t know what is involved,” he said. “It really is a chance to be creative and experimental, but at the same time, you have to serve your time. It requires discipline. To me it’s the best job in the world, and this competition can help other people realize that.”

The 4-day challenge is taking place at Fonterra’s very own innovation kitchen, the Culinarium, a brand new; state-of-the-art training and development kitchen, with every application and appliance to make the chefs feel at home.

The dishes are being judged by Peter Hallmanns, Jacob DeKlerk and Alen Thong the most talented two teams will proceed to the final tomorrow.

The winning team will receive AED 10,000 and one year’s worth of media exposure in conjunction with Fonterra. The team in second place will receive AED 5000.

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