THE 2017 Moffat National Salon Culinare competition attracted about 150 professional and student chefs vying for the coveted Junior Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year and Chef of the Year award.
Fiji Chef Association president Davendra Reddy said the new wave of competitors was also a major boost to the industry.
“What we have seen over the years is that the level of competition continues to increase each year,” he said.
“It depends also on the exposure that they get so every year we expose them to new concepts and to international judges who have had a lot of experience in the industry.
“So far we have seen some really good talents and even though the competition is still in progress it’s encouraging to see some very good chefs coming up in the local market.”
He said each participant had also been encouraged to use local produce in their culinary inventions.
“The main focus this year is how our young chefs can utilise local products into fine dining or into a decent meal that can be sold in a restaurant or in a hotel.
“All of our chefs that are competing this year are all locals and it’s great to see them using their own local products that they can find in any community.”
He said two international judges were part of the three-day competition.
“We have World Association of Chef Societies’ Pacific Rim director Murray Dick and chief judge and World Chefs Association Youth development co-ordinator and chief judge Sara Kymbrekos as our international judges this year.
“They are very experienced and we are very privileged to have them onboard with us.”
The competition, held at the Fiji National University’s Namaka campus, continues today.
Fiji Chefs Association executive committee member Laite Cavalevu said the winners could book themselves seats in the annual World Association of Chefs Societies competition.
“We used to be part of the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association’s trade show HOTEC, but we decided to hold a stand-alone event as of this year because we wanted the focus to be on our local young chefs without the distractions of the trade event,” she said.
“This event is held to bring out the best in our young chefs in a very competitive environment.
“This does two things — it helps them think outside of the box when preparing their meals and it also gives them an idea of what the World Chefs events are like.”
Mrs Cavalevu said this year there was a focus on using local ingredients.
“We are encouraging the competitors to use local produce and prepare dishes which are local in taste but international in presentation.”
(Source: The FijiTmes ONLINE 15 November 2017)