By Annette Shailer

For the second year in a row the country team has taken out the NSW City versus Country Apprentice Chef Challenge at Jordons in Darling Harbour last night (Jul 20).

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

The two teams of apprentices worked with leading chefs to create their own four-course team menus, which were prepared for more than 60 guests and four judges at last night’s dinner.

Two celebrity judges, Mossy and Gabe from Channel Seven TV show My Kitchen Rules, also helped determine the winning team.

Both teams served fantastic dishes over the four courses, however the country team were deemed the winners on the night.

Each team had to cook four courses; canapés, entrée, main course and dessert and reminiscent of Masterchef each team was given a mystery box of ingredients and was given free reign to create their own menu.

The winning team created a menu featuring an entrée of salmon cooked three ways, a main of pork belly with green beans, potato puree and coconut pannacotta for dessert. 

The dishes were complemented with wines from Foster’s and a range of beers from James Squire.

The winning country team consisted of:

– Natasha Housell, from the Wheeler Oyster Farms & Seafood Restaurant and lives in Pambula; 

– Michael Thorpe, from the Carriage House and lives in Wagga Wagga;

– Steven Evans, from Victoria’s Restaurant & Wine Bar and lives in Grafton; 

– Joshua Grant, 19 years old from Gallery Bistro, Harrington Hotel and lives in Port Macquarie;

– Peta-Anne Hillier, 27 years old from the Long Track Pantry and lives in Wagga Wagga; and

– Matthew Hammond, 19 years old from Chez Pok Restaurant and lives in Pokolbin;

Matthew Hammond from Polkolbin was given the Apprentice Award for being the best individual apprentice, which was awarded by the judges.
Most Valuable Player (MVP) from the City Team was Matthew Hill, who was chosen by his peers for the award and Josh Grant from Port Macquarie was awarded the country MVP by his teammates.
The apprentice chefs spent three days learning various skills, including a beer and food matching session with James Squire brewmaster and industry legend, Chuck Hahn.

The NSW City versus Country Apprentice Chef Challenge aims to support both rural and urban apprentice chefs and show their industry leaders and the public their culinary talents and expertise.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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