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GCC Anchor MasterChef crowned

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Teams from The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa, Bahrain and The Ivy Restaurant, Dubai awarded second and third place

Over 35 teams of professional chefs took part in the annual GCC cooking competition

Chefs Daniel Edward, Speciality Sous Chef and Dedy Supriady, Executive Pastry Chef from The Address Downtown Dubai were today awarded the coveted GCC Anchor MasterChef Challenge title for the second year.

The Anchor MasterChef Challenge 2011 and now 2012 winners produced exceptional signature dishes and an outstanding creative menu from a ‘mystery basket’ of ingredients, which included sea bass, baby chicken and Anchor Extra Yield Cooking Cream, in a competition finale held this week in the Culinarium, Fonterra’s state-of-the-art kitchen in Dubai.

The panel of industry judges were impressed by the team’s original and inspiring menu in the first round and their calmness under pressure in the final. Chefs Daniel Edward and Dedy Supriady were just one of over 35 teams of top chefs from across the GCC competing in the third Anchor MasterChef Challenge held during January and February. Closely following in second place were Yousif Ahmed and Seyed Hanif from The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa, Bahrain and in third place, Demas Tri Saputra Latief and Nilmini Gunasena from The Ivy Restaurant, Dubai.
“This competition has been another great experience for us and winning for a second year running is really incredible,” says Daniel Edward. “We felt are competitors were much tougher this year and we felt the pressure, particularly when we were plating up ready for judging in the final.”

Dedy Supriady agrees. “It has been an amazing experience but really hard work at the same time! The feedback we received from the judges throughout the competition has been really helpful and we are taking all their advice on board. It was a great learning experience. All the teams who took part are very talented and they certainly didn’t make this an easy win for us. We are delighted.”

This is the third year Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has run the GCC Anchor MasterChef Challenge and with near to 80 chefs participating, it is the largest independent culinary competition of its kind in the region. Following the final in the Culinarium, Chef Peter Hallmanns, Senior Advisory Chef for Fonterra Brands Middle East and manager of the competition says he was impressed by the determination he saw from the winning team. “It’s so inspiring to see Chefs Daniel and Dedy challenging themselves and their peers with their modern cuisine. They approached both rounds with a great attitude and clearly wanted to produce menus that would make an impact, and their choice of ingredients was inspiring and they truly deserve the Anchor MasterChef Challenge title for the second year.
“Once again this competition has been a fabulous success,” Chef Peter continues. “Young, up -and-coming chefs in the GCC do face a disadvantage in the global culinary scene as they do not have access to the wide range of training institutions that are available to chefs working in the European countries of France, Switzerland and Germany. This is why professional competitions such as this are so important as they offer additional support and learning and they give the chefs the opportunity to test their skills amongst the best in the region and help keep them at the top of their game.”

In second place were Yousif Ahmed and Seyed Hanif from The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa, Bahrain. Yousif Ahmed says, “We would obviously have loved to have won but to be able to show what we are capable of has been a real honour and our second place title has not discouraged us – we will go away and work harder so we can come back and win next year!”

The final was held on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February and saw seven GCC teams produce a three-course menu from a ‘mystery’ basket of ingredients. In addition to the three highest ranking teams, the following four teams were vying for the title:

  • Bengt Karlsson and Mohammed Ayoob M. Ibrahim from Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai
  • Mavila Sateesh Kumar and Amaratunga Arachchige, Damith C. from Moevenpick Hotel and Resort Al Khobar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Wael Alawar and Mohamad Hamdan from The Diplomat Club, Qatar
  • Assim Al Bulushi and T.B. Chamara, Oman Air Catering Unit

For the first time in the competition’s history, Chef Peter Hallmanns and colleague Chef Maher Naddaf, Advisory Chef for Fonterra in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ran a number of cook-off events across the GCC to seek out the most competent teams to take part in the final.

At each first round cook-off, the competing teams of two chefs prepared their signature three-course menu, which was judged by Fonterra’s in-house chefs and independent chefs from the respective countries. For the final, a panel of independent and accredited judges were selected. Throughout the competition the dishes were judged adhering to the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), recommended standards.

The final was held at Fonterra’s Culinarium in Dubai, its professional state-of-the-art kitchen, which hosts competitions, workshops and training sessions for chefs from across the GCC throughout the year.

The team from The Address Downtown Dubai received AED 15,000 per team; Runners-up team The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa, Bahrain received AED 10,000 and the team from The Ivy Restaurant, Dubai in third place received AED 5,000.

Through Fonterra’s ongoing initiatives, hundreds of professional chefs from across the GCC have had the opportunity to put themselves forward to compete against their peers and push the boundaries of the region’s culinary industry.

The Anchor MasterChef Challenge is just one of a number of regular culinary events hosted by Fonterra. The New Zealand-based company is committed to providing young chefs with the opportunity to develop their skills through demanding competitions and challenging workshops.

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