Fine Culinary Skills on Display at UKZN Cook-OffGeneral

The winning team with their array of dishes being serenaded by Ms Janice Pillay.The winning team with their array of dishes being serenaded by Ms Janice Pillay.

School of Clinical Medicine Professional Service’s staff donned chefs hats and aprons during a battle for the prized title of Best Cook Off Team, with winners on the day - the Navy Blue Sailors - being applauded for their champion Nando’s-style, chargrilled spatchcock chicken.

Hosted by Panish Food Solutions, teams were required to prepare and cook several dishes on a braai fire. Sauces and spices were provided but the creative preparation and presentation of the end product was left to each team.

The day began with a lesson on scaling and filleting fresh red fish, after which teams were given the following brief: Prepare a full chicken, rack of lamb, wors, burgers or meatballs, chicken sosaties, a cold salad, a hot salad, sauces and whole fresh fish, while incorporating a variety of vegetables and fruit.

Fourteen teams were pitted against each other, including a team of vegetarians. Feeling the heat as they battled it out around braai stands, the teams relied on excellent communication skills to ensure their dishes reflected their personalities and different tastes.

Teams came up with unique dishes. The vegetarian team wowed the external adjudicators with their dishes of vegetarian burger breyani, roti with bean curry, soya fish salad and a caramelised apple dessert…all cooked on open flames. The team won third prize.

Ms Janice Pillay of the Spanish Solutions Team decided to serenade her colleagues who enjoyed the ad lib entertainment.

The external adjudicators marked each team on the unique style of each dish, cleanliness, team work, final presentation and the creative use of ingredients.

‘It was a challenging task given the high standard of dishes and the delicious taste,’ said the owner of Panish, Mr Ishan Panday.

Second was the Black Team, who cooked up irresistible fresh fish with lemon butter sauce and succulent chicken sosaties. 

The winning team, Navy Blue Sailors, comprised Juliet Ngidi, Nozipho Dlomo, Mbalenhle Maseko, Rishi Premjith, Slindile Mncube and Sbonokuhle Cebekhulu.  They prepared a spatchcock lemi-licious Nando’s-style chicken, and Nature’s Garden salad with a secret homemade dressing; admiral’s fillet-o-fish with fishy lemon and garlic butter; sumptuous chicken sosaties basted and grilled to perfection; buccaneer’s spicy lamb burgers; potato salad with boiled eggs; juicy lamb chops; chargrilled wors; fruit salad, sambals and roasted butternut.

School operations manager, Mrs Antoinette Botha, expressed her excitement at managing such an awesome team. ‘I am so proud of you. Our team is unique and I hope that going forward from today we work at keeping this momentum on the up.’

MaryAnn Francis