On Tuesday a fellow cadet (Amanda) and I got the chance to be out of office to cover the Dim Sum Talented Chef Competition 2013 at the Peninsula Hotel. There were five finalists who had to each produce a gourmet dim sum shrimp dish. They had to make sure that both the quality of the food and the presentation were the best they could be.
Our main job consisted of taking photos and sending them back to the office, where they would be posted on the Young Post Active Facebook page. So yes, the photos on there are from us! You’re welcome!
I arrived at the hotel’s Banquet Kitchen while everything was in full swing. The chefs were putting finishing touches to their dishes and plating up. There were certainly a sense of competition in the air, but it was not as stressful as having Gordon Ramsay screaming at you in a massive kitchen.
I snapped action shots of them placing colourful vegetables in intricate formations and delicately shaping small tarts. I also took pictures of the finish products, which were really a sight to behold. There was many a time where I was tempted to steal a bite from their delectable dishes because their presentation was as pretty as a picture. The competing chefs were very focused on their work, and seemed to work well under pressure.
Unfortunately, during the cooking, one of the contestants, Florence Tse, gave herself a deep cut and had to receive medical attention. Nevertheless, she went back into the competition with a noticeably large bandage on her left hand, and received help from a chef who plated her dish. This was a great example of perseverance, something I truly admired while covering this story.
SCMP’s Susan Jung.
During the judging, I tried to get shots of the food being laid on the judging table, and shots of judges eating, commenting and approving the food. My role allowed me to listen to what the judges were saying. Many of them loved Felix Leung Hin-wa’s presentation (the eventual winner) as he had made a deep-fried elephant-shaped dim sum. SCMP’s food editor Susan Jung was so impressed by this that she asked me to take a picture of it.
Despite the final results, I felt that all the dishes looked delicious, and from what I heard, the judges had a hard time judging who had the best dish. But the judges believed that Felix really did deserve first prize, which consisted of HK$25,000 and a two-year apprenticeship with The Peninsula Hotel, including a year at The Peninsula Hong Kong, six months at The Peninsula Shanghai and another six months at The Peninsula Beijing.
This experience gave me a chance to see what a food competition was really like. It also made me realise that journalism was changing as we could provide live coverage of the event as well as write an article all while being away from the desk. I thoroughly enjoyed the out-of-office experience, as it proved I could enjoy myself while working, something I do at the office too…sometimes.