Botany student master chefs win big

Farzana Rahimi, Natasha Pheng and Angie Thomson. Photos supplied

Two Botany students have won a cooking competition in grand style.

On Saturday March 30, the Manukau Beautification Trust held its annual Eye on Nature Eco event. One of the events on the day was a master chef-style secondary schools cooking competition.

Contestants had to prepare four portions of a main dish containing duck breast and two types of kumara in one hour.

Botany Downs Secondary College students Farzana Rahimi and Natasha Pheng represented the school and won the competition with their dish “Aroha I te rakiraki”  (Love a duck) which was juniper-seared duck breast, confit duck, kumara puree aronchini, fig and kumara chutney and sour cherries.

The winning dish “Aroha I te rakiraki”  (Love a duck) – juniper-seared duck breast, confit duck, kumara puree aronchini, fig and kumara chutney and sour cherries.

Angie Thomson, food technology and hospitality teacher at the college, said that she could not be more proud.

“The skills these two demonstrated were of such a high standard and far surpass what I would expect from secondary schools students,” said Angie.

” I have worked with professional chefs that can’t cook as well as these two.”

Natasha and Farzana said that they were nervous on the day but had trained hard and knew that they had a strong dish so felt good about their chances.

They just had to remember to do what they had practiced and keep communicating. They said that they could not have done it without the support of their teacher (Mrs Thomson) who always encourages them to do their best.

“She has high expectations but chose us for the competition because she knew we could win it,” the girls said.

“In the weeks leading up to the completion we worked on developing our dish and trialling different cooking techniques and presentation styles until we were really happy with what we had created. ”

This is the sixth year in a row of winning this competition for Botany Downs Secondary College.