Chefs from kindergartens and hospitals tested their strength
At the end of August, chefs from all over the Czech Republic gathered to show off their skills and compare professional skills in the fifth year of the Best Chef in Social Catering competition. Four competition categories were waiting for competitors from kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, as well as hospitals, health institutions, spas and homes for the elderly.
The intention is not only to pay tribute to the best masters of culinary art, but also to show the possibilities and diversity of gastronomy in certain areas of joint catering, discover reserves, meet today’s requirements and inspire healthy cooking at the level of the 21st century.
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“The submitted menu had to meet strict nutritional requirements, be modern, tasty and healthy. At the same time, the cooks were not allowed to exceed the standard limit for the price of one portion”, describes the course of the competition Kateřina Slabíková from the school canteen in Valašské Klobouky.
Together with her colleague Renata Kozárova, she made it to the finals in two categories – Best dish for young people aged 11 to 18 and Meatless vegetable dish. They won both categories.
The final fight
“The day before the final, all the contestants gathered for a joint dinner, each team drew lots at what time they would cook the next day, and we learned all the detailed information. In addition to the expert committee, there was also a technical committee at the competition that supervised personal hygiene at the workplace during cooking, checked professional manual skills, wastage of raw materials and work organization. The last point is timing. We had two hours to prepare the dish, and then we had to present it to the jury,” continues Slabíkova.
The chef’s competition dish from Wallachia was chicken breast stuffed with asparagus and English bacon, mashed potatoes and beets, roasted cauliflower with turmeric, spring onion pesto and parmesan chips.
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“For the second category of meatless plant-based food, we introduced bean balls, vegetable ratatouille and spinach polenta with sesame. Only an individual can cook in this category. This task was taken over by Renata, who did an excellent job and brought us first place, just like in the first category,” adds Slabíkova.
Miroslav Kubec, president of the Association of Chefs and Pastry Chefs of the Czech Republic, is increasingly surprised and satisfied with the level of food served by the competitors.
“Imagination, courage to include less traditional ingredients, but also care, for example in the form of handmade pastries; all this testifies to the maximum dedication and love for cooking that colleagues bring to the field of communal catering. Without their determination and desire to cook really well for small and large restaurants, this would not be possible. The salary situation of employees in the communal catering segment has not been optimal for a long time, without the enthusiasm of individuals, the jury of our competition would hardly be able to see such great dishes, which we were able to taste today as part of the competitive tasting”, commented Miroslav Kubec from the fifth year of the competition.