Finesse. A golden opportunity has led to a bronze accolade for apprentice chef Jaz Dunstan.
The Tall Timbers Tasmania second year apprentice placed third at the Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat Awards in Hobart last Thursday.
In what was a late commitment, Jaz joined fellow second year apprentice chef Lauren Woolley, of Furners Hotel in Ulverstone, following a late withdrawal.
The pair were set the task of preparing and delivering a main meal and dessert to a panel of judges within two-and-a-half hours.
“We had one practice run together, the weekend before,” Jaz says.
“Lauren probably had six months [to prepare], I had two or three weeks.”
On the menu was a rolled roast lamb saddle with pickled vegetables and jus followed by vanilla mousse infused with lime leaves and coconut.
“It was the first time I have ever boned a lamb saddle,” Jaz says, “so that was nerve-wracking!”
Reaching out to Perry’s Quality Meats butcher Liam Courtney to learn the tricks of the trade, Jaz observed the technique before attempting the cut just once before entering the competition.
“I was surprised by how it turned out,” she says of the dish that received positive feedback from the judging panel.
“That was my only real worry for the day, once I got the bone out of the saddle my worries went out the window.”
Serving four portions, the dishes were judged on presentation, flavour and texture.
“It was such an experience! I’m really proud of myself to have earned a bronze in my first cooking competition.
“I couldn’t have done it without Mum and Dad’s support, and the support of John, Jackie, Rob and the Tallies team,” she said, also thanking Liam and the Perry’s Quality Meats crew.
“They’ve all helped to make this whole experience amazing.”
The 17-year-old began her culinary career at Xanders Restaurant in Stanley two years ago before joining the Tall Timbers team in January.
Starting on the woodfired pizzas, Jaz was promoted to entrees soon after and is now being introduced to mains.
Hoping a career in the kitchen will take her around the world, for now, Jaz is content to stay home and continue to gain experience.