Posted on Monday, 22 December 2014

It was a battle of knives and culinary flair when Canterbury’s chefs came together in a MasterChef-style cook off for the title of Canterbury MasterChef 2014.

Twenty-two chefs competed in several heats the weeks prior with the winners of each heat battling it out on the final night. The six finalists were Justin O’Bree, Nick Cooke, Claudio Ruggero, Nashat Debabneh, Sameer Sangraula and Nick Stergenakis.

The finalists’ creativity and skills were put to the test in the first Mystery Box Challenge where they had to prepare a main dish with their choice of the provided ingredients which included beef, prawns, leeks, asparagus, and Israeli cous cous.

Chefs then followed up with their interpretation of the deceptively simple vanilla panna cotta dessert with each chef given the same recipe, ingredients and time to make it.

Each chef produced a beautiful main and dessert that wouldn’t have been amiss in menus from restaurants like Rockpool and Tetsuyas in the city – some even went the extra mile to create memorable creations that really wowed the judges and guests on the night.

Canterbury CEO Dave Brace, COO Jon Brain and General Manager Food and Beverage Rosemary News were the ones tasked with judging each dish and presenting awards to the winners afterwards.

The overall winner of the night was Justin O’Bree and the People’s Choice Award went to Claudio Ruggero.

Justin’s beautifully-plated pan-fried rump medallions with cous cous and grilled prawns on potato scallops saw him take the lead which he followed up with a delicately-set panna cotta dessert decorated with a stunning spun sugar decoration amidst a drizzle of berry coulis.

Both the winners won themselves a dinner for two as well as the right to represent Canterbury in the upcoming ClubsNSW Chef’s Table competition in 2015.

“We wanted to challenge our chefs and push them to their creative limits. They rose to the occasion with some stellar performances from our senior team and some equally surprising results from our apprentices and stars of the future. 2015 will see some innovative and exciting changes in the food and beverage offering at the Club,” said Rosemary News, General Manager of Food and Beverage.