On February 29 the 15th edition of the Twizel Salmon and Wine festival took place. Our head chef Rene took part in the Salmon cook off against chef Logan from the Hermitage at Aoraki/Mount Cook.
"Are you nervous, Rene?"
Most chefs are used to be able to hide behind pots and pans, walls and bells. That is also what Rene is used to. Not saying he is a shy chef, but being in the spotlights is definitely new to him. So when I ask him whether he is nervous, he says "no, I am not nervous, but I am just not used to all those people looking at me!". And to be honest, it is quite a crowd. On this hot day, Rene and Logan are lucky to work in the shade. The public though, gets a bit of a tan while enjoying the cook off. But apparently it is worth it, because the cook off is well attended.
"You are not allowed to cook yourself"
Yep, that was a surprise to both Rene and Logan. Just minutes before the cook off started, they heard that they would not be cooking themselves. Instead, they would be instructing a volunteer from the crowd on how to prepare and cook the dishes.
Honours to Rene
Both chefs were given a box with eight ingredients of which they could use five. Withing the 30 minutes time limit, Logan made a miso-marinated nori-wrapped salmon with an Asian-inspired salad. Rene however, did a show off by not making one, but three dishes. The judges were impressed by his marinated ceviche-style salmon and pan-seared salmon fillet with roasted red peppers and potato crisps.