Reporter 427, 16 November 1998
An award-winning team of four University chefs were crowned prize puddings at a recent national competition - their fourth honour in less than a year.
The team travelled down to Thames Valley University for the Universities Catering Organisation National Chefs Challenge on October 28-30, where they were faced by fifteen other determined teams and a mystery box of ingredients. They were given two hours to prepare a meal for four, including a starter from the previously unseen box containing chicken breasts and liver, spinach and croutons. The teams were judged on their use of ingredients, presentation, kitchen skills and teamwork, as well as the taste of their three-course product.
The Leeds chefs were given the overall 'highly commended' prize, and picked up the 'best overall dessert' award for their baked vanilla tart with tangerine sorbet and autumn fruits. "Two hours for three courses may sound pressured, but we work to those sort of deadlines every day so we're used to it," said Wayne Smith, one of the prize-winning cooks. "Our teamwork was superb, we were purring like a Rolls-Royce," he added.
In recognition of their success, members of the Leeds team were awarded with a set of oriental knives, and a cheque for £150, which they donated to charity.
The team was also highly placed in 1997 and believe that they can do even better in next year's event."I think we'll probably start as favourites," said a confident Mr Smith.
The team should really have been starting next year as champions, but for a forgotten portion of chicken liver left in the saucepan. "We lost 25 marks for not using all the ingredients which cost us the gold medal, but we won't make that mistake again."
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