A student chef from Walsall College has scooped a silver medal after participating in a competition for rising industry stars. Gabriele Mesko was named runner-up in the British Culinary Federation (BCF) Student Chef of the Year.
The 18-year-old wowed judges with a visually-stunning, mouth-watering three-course menu for two cooked up in two hours. These were:
Starter – King Oyster Mushroom, confit butternut squash, butternut tartlet
Main – Cod, roasted celeriac, orzo and chorizo, beurre blanc
Dessert – Milk chocolate mousse, hazelnut caramel, poached pear and honey tuille
Hospitality management student, Gabriele said that while she enjoyed her time at the competition, her success came as a shock.
“When my name was called out for second place, I had no words to describe my feelings. It’s still sinking in,” said Gabriele.
“The competition experience itself was really intense and I had doubts about my abilities. I’ve been working in the kitchen of the Golden Fleece in Birkenshaw under head chef, Dale Spinks but this was a different experience. Not only are you fully focused, you’re also fighting to come out on top. Even so I loved every minute of it.”
In addition to her silver medal, Gabrielle received a cheque for £100, certificate and a set of chef knives courtesy of Contacto.
As one of eight finalists, she was also given one year’s free membership to the BCF, a BCF embroidered apron, a framed finalist’s certificate and gifts from Wrapmaster and Contacto.
Gabriele continued: “I’m proud of what I achieved and incredibly grateful to my tutors and my restaurant colleagues. Everyone’s encouraged me and are helping me develop stronger skills.
“In future, I hope I can progress into a senior chef, be involved in more competitions like this and maybe work abroad. I’m hungry for more success.”
The BCF Student Chef of the Year finals took place at University College Birmingham. Competitors were marked on culinary skills shown, hygiene, working methods, portion size, flavour, temperature, presentation and timing.
BCF President Peter Griffiths commented: “All the young student chefs performed exceptionally well. It was a challenging competition in the time allowed and the students were a credit to themselves and their colleges.”
Andrew Sage, newly appointed BCF Student competition organiser added that he was delighted with the final outcome and the support and interest from colleges across the country had been excellent.