Teams of culinary schools under the Laureate Hospitality Education umbrella have participated in this year’s Laureate Culinary Cup in Chile. Representing Jordan was Chef Suman Sayed and Chef Zakiah Zakariah from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts – Affiliate of Les Roches Switzerland in Amman, Jordan. They were chosen based on their theoretical and practical performance during their two year course at the Academy. Markus Kalberer, the Academy’s director had chosen the Bahrini and Singaporean nationals to represent both the Academy and Jordan in this one of a kind culinary competition and assisted them during their journey.
A four-course meal is prepared by the participating teams consisting of a cold appetizer, hot appetizer or soup, main course and dessert. This year, salmon, white potatoes, duck and Carmenere red wine were the main four ingredients that were to be incorporated into the four-course meal. The twist was that the dishes the students presented should reflect the cuisine of the students’ country. “We had to represent Jordan by cooking a four-course meal with four different ingredients that are not used often in the Jordanian cuisine, and it was a challenge.” Chef Zakiah said. The competing teams were allowed to incorporate materials in their raw form only from their home countries as they were not permitted to use finished ready-to-use products.
“It was challenging for us to represent Jordan as we both do not originate from Jordan. It was not an easy task to pull, we had to do research about the local cuisine, ingredients used and the cooking methods to fulfill the requirements set for the competition.” added chef Suman. Two days were given to the participating teams for the preparation of the mise-en-place and to cook and assemble their dishes. “We had only four hours on the first day to finish the preparations, and that included deboning and filleting the salmon and the duck.” explained chef Zakiah. On the second day, two hours were given to the teams to cook and assemble their dishes where they had to present four plated dishes of each of their four-course meal: two of which to be presented to the judges; one to be photographed and displayed; and one to be tasted by participating student teams.
Last February, both Chef Suman and Chef Zakiah with the help of Chef Markus Kalberer, started their journey to develop the recipes for the competition. By April 25th, participating teams had to submit their menu description, photos of each course, a detailed essay explaining the thought process of the incorporation of the culinary heritage, recipes and product requisition. “It was too much work in very little time” added Chef Zakiah. The two young chefs were able to pull it off with hard work and extensive training. “We had to spend most of our time at the Academy after working hours and even on Saturdays. We wanted to win this competition, and the only approach was by hard work and commitment. We organized ourselves, our work approach and our time, and that was the key to win this competition.” added Chef Suman. As both chefs explained, they labeled all their items, used alarms to measure time accurately, tried as much as possible to minimize their wastage and they maintained ultimate hygiene and cleanliness in their working area. All this hard work, passion and commitment enabled the Jordanian team to compete amongst six other teams from Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, USA, Panama and Brazil and were entitled for the Gold Medical with Distinction.
Variation of Tomatoes: Smoked tomato consume, Kumato tomato tartar, tomato leather, micro greens and buckwheat croutons
Salmon cooked to perfection, Jerusalem artichokes puree, arugula oil, saffron sauce
Coffee infused duck rillettes, duck pâté, potato foam, mushroom soil, pea purée, cherry mustard
Pistachio macrons, lavender and honey cream brûlée, kumquat compote, hibiscus jelly, goat cheese and fig ice cream
*Pictures courtesy of both chefs