Cooking up a storm - Round Two

Cooking up a storm - Round Two

Things are already hotting up for contestants after the first two rounds of the cookery contest to become Towngas Young Master Chef

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Contestants had only one hour to cook the Western homemade grilled chicken dish, Poulet Basquaise.
Contestants had only one hour to cook the Western homemade grilled chicken dish, Poulet Basquaise.
Photos: May Tse/SCMP
Restaurateur and former Le Cordon Bleu student Wilson Kwok took over for the second round. He introduced the contestants to a home-style grilled chicken dish, Poulet Basquaise, or Basque chicken.

Time is of the essence

Poulet Basquaise, though deemed a simple, everyday dish, involves quite a handful of steps. What's more, the pressure was really on the contestants, because they had to complete all the intricate tasks in no more than one hour. Several contestants and teams hurried to plate up their dishes in the very last seconds; some even removed their chicken from the oven only two or three minutes before the end buzzer went off.

"We had only one hour to cook this dish and ended up going over the time limit," says Sze Lok-yee, a member of Team Six. She says the rush was probably caused by unfamiliarity with the Western cooking steps; Lok-yee cooks mainly Chinese cuisine at home, and is unfamiliar with Western dishes.

Student's 'edge' returns

Unlike the last Cantonese stir-fried dish challenge, this one required students to make a European dish. Contestants such as Yuen Ka-hei, who are more used to cooking Western cuisine, found this challenge exceptionally easy. "It wasn't particularly hard for me because I like cooking Western and Italian foods at home," she says.

Ka-hei struggled when the contestants were asked to make Chinese-style, stir-fried beef. This time, her 'edge' was back.

Tutor: Wilson Kwok

Kitchen experience: has been running his own restaurant for 19 years

Speciality: Western cuisine

Lesson for contestants: basic Western cooking skills; understanding different "genres" of food; following instructions

Comments: Kwok said he was satisfied with all the dishes in general.

However, what he asked for was "no more, no less". For example, he told contestants to plate up only one chicken drumstick, even though they were given two. But many contestants failed to comply. In a normal Western setting, each plate should always hold a one-person portion.

Kwok appreciated contestants who put in extra effort in terms of presentation. But the task also highlighted contestants who failed to realise the style of the dish: Poulet Basquaise is a homemade, relaxed dish, so extravagant decoration is unnecessary.

He said that contestants should always pay attention to the details.

This week, the contestants picked up all the basics they need. From next week on, two of them will face elimination after each round. Follow Young Post's Young Master Chef coverage every Friday, and stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter and website for photos and updates.


Complete coverage of:
Round One
Round Three
Round Four
Round Five
Round Six
Semi-final
Final

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