Navy young guns savour culinary success

David SalvaireSound Telegraph
Royal Australian Navy chefs Michael Reisis and James Kirkpatrick at HMAS Stirling.
Camera IconRoyal Australian Navy chefs Michael Reisis and James Kirkpatrick at HMAS Stirling. Credit: David Salvaire

Two young Rockingham-based chefs dished up the goods recently in Australia’s longest-running culinary competition, earning a silver medal at the 2017 Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat Award.

Royal Australian Navy chefs James Kirkpatrick and Michael Reisis went into battle at the North Metropolitan TAFE.

In one of 11 heats across the country, the WA regional cook-off involved 17 teams stepping up to the plate, going all out to deliver their best dishes to be judged against nationally recognised culinary standards.

The navy pair created a two-course menu of laksa-infused lamb loin served on a bed of chilli stir-fried vegetables with laksa reduction sauce and a dessert of soaked pistachio and citrus cake with choc chip ice-cream, garnished with creme patissiere and strawberry coulis.

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The young guns saw it as a perfect opportunity to prove themselves.

“We both wanted to have fun with the experience of competing and show what navy chefs can do,” Mr Kirkpatrick said.

“Being young chefs in the navy has taught us a lot and given us a chance to develop our culinary skills, so we were keen to showcase our talent and see how we stacked up.”

The Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat Award has been running for 52 years. This year, more chefs have entered across the country than ever before.

Nestle Professional executive chef Mark Clayton said the event pushed chefs to the next level.

“Competing is vital to the professional development of young chefs — you learn so much from this type of experience,” he said.

“Putting yourself up to be judged on your culinary talent is tough, but this is ultimately how you hone your skills, build your networks and get your name out there.”

Mandurah apprentice chefs Hayden Bilton, 20, and Jason Scott, 21, won gold medals.

The winning team in the regional WA heats, Hudson Stokes and Lara Kirby, will travel to Sydney for the national final.

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