Promising ARA chefs win big at national culinary competition

IN ACTION: ARA students Chahna Victoria Davis and Shikylah Dearnley during the three hour live kitchen cook off in a national student culinary competition, where they won gold medals

Two students from Woolston have become culinary champions after taking home the top award at a national competition.

Chahna Victoria Davis won two gold medals with her Nelson teammate Shikylah Dearnley, while Navneet Narayan took home silver for his restaurant service skills, at the annual Nestlé Toque d’Or student culinary competition.

They competed against 21 other contestants. The dishes were a starter of olive oil poached vine tomato salad, seared Akaroa salmon cured in seaweed salt with hot smoked Akaroa salmon with horseradish pate.

The main was blue cheese rubbed beef sirloin with braised beef cheek with a kumara and blue cheese custard.

They also served a dessert with glazed blond chocolate mousse.

The pressure was on throughout the three-hour live kitchen cook off, as the team fought against the clock and scrutiny of a panel of top industry judges, including Anton Mosimann from the United Kingdom.

Any errors made by competitors during the event resulted in lost points.

The group of judges was led by high profile Christchurch chef Darren Wright.

Competing teams were marked against WorldChefs international judging standards which included food preparation, presentation, taste and service.

It is the 15th time in the 28-year history of the competition that the award has been won by a team from Christchurch.

WINNERS ARE GRINNERS: Ara Institute of Canterbury students Chahna Victoria Davis, Navneet Narayan and Shikylah Dearnley took home the big prize at the national Nestlé Toque d’Or student culinary competition.