Ray Petersen –
The quarterly Inter-Hotel Chef’s Competition took place this week at the National Hospitality Institute’s Gulf Chef School. Under the auspices of the Omani Chef Guild, and adjudicated by renowned Muscat based chefs, Oswald Joachim, Executive Chef at the Oman Convention Centre, and Neil Sequeira, Executive Chef of the Golden Tulip hotel, a full day of competitive culinary action took place.
The competition took the format of popular television cookery shows and required contestants to utilise the ingredients contained in a ‘mystery box’ in their cooking, and to produce four plates of a three course menu for a panel of connoisseurs. The National Hospitality Institute’s Principal, Robert McLean, explained that, “the ten competing teams had a set amount of time to identify the ingredients and plan a menu, with another specific time to create and present their dishes.”
He also indicated that the standard of these three-monthly events continues to improve, as the young chefs become more confident, and even more daring, in their use of the mystery ingredients. “Not only, however, is the meal judged, but each team includes a waiter, who must then meet the high standards of the hospitality sector, in their service of the meal.” Chef Joachim, and Chef Sequiera were two of the judges, and the competition also includes two guest judges, who are chosen from applicants to the NHI website at www.nhioman.com . McLean emphasised that “the Sultanate’s hotels actively support their courses, and continue to play a significant role in educating young Omanis in what are certainly, non-traditional skills, creating greater potential for Omani employment opportunities.”
It is clear that competitions such as these demonstrate a commitment by the hotel industry, to hospitality sector development, and provide competitive and rewarding experiences for the potential Michelin ‘stars’ of the future.