Five of western Victoria's most exciting young chefs took competition cooking to a new level as they created mouthwatering meals for the judges of the WorldSkills Regional Cookery Competition at Federation University.
Each apprentice chef prepared a three-course meal with cooking time starting at 8.30am and the courses to be served at 12.30pm, 1pm and 1.30pm.
Chloe Flavel said the competition was about getting young chefs to showcase their skills and ability, and to develop confidence.
First-year apprentice Casidy Allen said the competition helped push her out of her comfort zone.
"It's helped me to learn things I wouldn't otherwise learn, and learn things quicker than I might have," she said.
Chloe has tasted success before, winning the regional round in 2017 and competing in the national event last year.
"I loved the experience and couldn't wait to have another go," she said.
Participants get a booklet three months before the cook-off to give themselves time to train, learn new skills and prepare a menu. They learned their ingredients a month ago.
Chloe said the hours of cooking time passed quickly.
"You're not aware of the time, then once you stop you're like 'what did I just do'," she laughed once the pressure was off and she had presented her dessert dish to the judges.
"You just get in to the zone."
Among the judges was last year's Victorian Apprentice of the Year winner Alyssa Heard who completed her apprenticeship through FedUni TAFE.
The judges looked for presentation, taste, texture and kitchen skills in the finished dishes with each apprentice having to provide three plates of each dish.
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The judges will decide which competitors progress to the national WorldSkills championships, but the chefs who cooked in Ballarat on Tuesday will have to wait until a gala awards dinner in November to find out who received the chefs hat for the best dishes of the day.
The WorldSkills competitions offer a pathway for trades based students to show off their skills in a competitive environment, with the opportunity to go on to national and international competition after winning regional rounds.
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