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Culinary Champions Defend Regional Title at the 2015 Nestle Golden Chef's Hat Awards

Published: 16 Nov 2015

Georgia Harrison and Amanda Polsen
CIT Graduates Georgia Harrison and Amanda Polsen

Long before MasterChef was cultivating food virtuosos, there was the Nestle Golden Chef's Hat Awards - a national culinary institution that has been developing young apprentice chefs since 1966.

Each year, the annual Nestle Golden Chef's Hat Award competition pits the Canberra region's top apprentice chefs against each other in CIT's kitchens in one tough competition to determine the region's best talent.

Following their 2014 success, CIT graduates and up and coming chefs Georgia Harrison of National Press Club and Amanda Polsen of Hyatt Hotel Canberra took out the Canberra regional award for the second year running, which will see them progress to the national final in September.

Contestants cook in pairs, racing against the clock to create an inspired three-course menu out of a selection of ingredients available on the day.

Undaunted, Georgia, a long time foodie and a CIT Women in Trades Ambassador, says there's nothing she craves more than a challenge.

"I have always craved a challenge and being told something was hard work or risky only made me want it more," she says.

The pair started strong in the challenge with an entrée of ocean trout; sancho cured, grilled and poached, impressed the expert panel with a confident main of herb crusted lamb chuck with celeriac puree and smoked eggplant chutney, and proved victory is sweet with an irresistible dessert of glazed dark chocolate mousse and blood orange caramel lava dome.

Apprentices who compete in the challenge have the opportunity to be mentored by CIT culinary instructors and have access to a national network, Australian Culinary Federation (ACF), of chefs to aid their development. Georgia and Amanda will now represent the ACT in the national cooking final which will play out at Fine Food Australia in Sydney this September, in front of a live audience.