Cooking up a storm in Greece
A group of Namibian chefs is attending a chefs parade in Thessaloniki, Greece this week. A very promising young chef, Jo-Andri Pretorius is participating in the world final of the Hans Büschkens cooking competition. She is accompanied by chefs David Thomas and Sanet Prinsloo.
Reporting from Thessaloniki, Chef Thomas said “What a busy early congress hosted and organised by WACS. That huge event gives us the opportunity to keep exploring the chef world by meeting chefs from around the world. [We are] listening to conferences about modern techniques, healthy traditional Greek nutrition, handling the molecular reactions with Valhrona chocolate, discovering the new cuisine and trends coming from northern Europe or even a cooking demonstration organised by some Australian Masterchef and TV star George Colombaris.”
During the first day Chef Thomas attended a judging seminar for international chefs where he learned the finer skills of judging the work of other chefs.
“What is it all about being a professional judge and culinary expert? What are the criteria to mark unique food prepared by highly trained chefs? From hygiene, the general organisation in the kitchen, multiple techniques that are used and showcased by the chefs, to display and create the last finishing details on the plate” he commented.The seminar brought together 45 professional chefs, from Slovenia, Greece, Sweden, Germany, New Zealand and Namibia.
They were supervised by two WACS professional judges, from Luxembourg and Sweden.
While he attended the judging seminar, Namibia’s main contender, Pretorius, was walking through town, sourcing ingredients for her final of the Hans Bueschkens.
Fresh herbs and micro greens, asparagus, mango and other goodies, she was having everything ready for her menu. Saturday was time for her to showcase her skills and talents facing chefs from nine other countries, Sweden, Australia, USA, Denmark, Greece, Singapore, UAE, Italy and Germany.
The level and standards were incredibly high. After three hours, each competing chef had to pull out a 3-course menu for six people, combining fantastic ingredients, personal twists, experience and techniques, with mental preparation and full control on the environment.
“Jo Andri did good. Her food came out of the kitchen on time with beautifully prepared plates, bright and fresh colours, long aromas and generous seasoning. She was saluted for the flavours, for the tastes, for the respect of the products, for her creative ideas, and her plating skills but lost a lot in organisation, how she handled and controlled her time” said Chef Thomas.