By Annette Shailer

The country team has taken out the inaugural NSW City versus Country Apprentice Chef Challenge at The Watershed Hotel in Darling Harbour last night (Jul 28).

The event is the brainchild of J&J O’Brien Hoteliers Group (JJO) chef, Daniel Fountain, who was recently crowned the 2009 AHA National Chef of the Year.

The two teams of apprentices worked with leading chefs to create their own team menus, which were prepared for more than 90 guests and three judges at last night’s dinner.

Unaware of which team cooked what, the guests tucked into meals, which included smoked salmon and baby spinach ravioli, herb crusted lamb cutlets, char-grilled pork cutlets and orange and cabernet braised beef cheek.

Fountain said that the aim of the challenge was to help encourage apprentice chefs, especially those living in remote and rural areas.

“I like to work with apprentices and help them get where they want to go. We could be looking at the next budding Neil Perrys and Matt Morans,” he said.

Many of the apprentice chefs spent more than four hours on the train to get to Sydney, coming from rural areas such as Young, Wagga Wagga and Albury.

Presented with a mystery box of ingredients, the teams had two-days to create a three-course menu for the evening.

The dishes were complemented with wines from Fine Wine Partners and prizes were awarded to the winning team and individuals that showed particular ability.

The Shout Team

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