Chefs get hat tip from judges

DELICIOUS RESULT: Curtis Prior and Thomas Crestani were happy with their performance. They finished runner-up at the state finals.
DELICIOUS RESULT: Curtis Prior and Thomas Crestani were happy with their performance. They finished runner-up at the state finals.

A YOUNG chef from West Pennant Hills has been recognised for his amazing cooking skills.

Curtis Prior recently put on his chef’s hat and strapped on his apron to take on some of state’s best young chefs in the Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat Award.

The 22-year-old, who works as a sous chef at the Epping Club, teamed up with Thomas Crestani to create a two-course menu of lamb backstrap with fennel and mint salad, pomme puree and red wine jus for the main and a chocolate crème brulee with white chocolate and lime leaf ganache for the dessert course.

Mr Prior said he entered to test himself, and exceeded expectations by finishing second in the 15-team competition.

“I’ve never done anything like this before and I wanted to put my skills and knowledge to the test in a competitive environment.” he said.

The Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award has been running for 52 years and is Australia’s longest running culinary competition for young chefs.

GREAT EFFORT: Rebecca Merhi and Brendan Ironside impressed the judges with their two-course menu of seared herb crusted lamb loin with poached lamb and leek mousse, green bean puree, braised leek, torched zucchini, whipped potato and jus for their main and a caramelised white chocolate bavarois, strawberry carpaccio with compressed apple, citrus curd and toffee crisp for their dessert course.

GREAT EFFORT: Rebecca Merhi and Brendan Ironside impressed the judges with their two-course menu of seared herb crusted lamb loin with poached lamb and leek mousse, green bean puree, braised leek, torched zucchini, whipped potato and jus for their main and a caramelised white chocolate bavarois, strawberry carpaccio with compressed apple, citrus curd and toffee crisp for their dessert course.

The winners of the NSW final will take part in a national final in September.

The national champions will earn the amazing opportunity to go on a culinary trip to Vietnam.

Castle Hill chef Rebecca Merhi also did an outstanding job at the competition. 

 “I thoroughly enjoy competing, and each time I do, I learn from both the competitors and judges,” she said.

“Competing helps me to push myself further, grow within the industry and hopefully become a better chef.”