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Cookery competition

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I am currently doing an apprenticeship and I have been chosen to take part in a 'ready steady cook' style competition. we will all be given a box of ingredients and we'll have 30 minutes to think and 1 hour 30 mins to prepare and present it.

I don't know what the ingredients are yet but does any one have and tips and advice to give me as I'm only just starting out.

Thank You!

post #2 of 7

I love doing these kind of things. The most important part of this thing IMO is your menu design, you want to do something impressive without being unrealistic.


Your mise en place list is also incredibly important, you should have a firm idea of what you need to get done. do not swap green and red board more than you have to. You should push to get all of it done and start cooking with confidence in your quantities of ingredients. ASAP. Not plating or plating late is worse than food that has to be held for a minute or two.


Some Ideas: 

  • I generally take the primary ingredient and give it the most time and try to show advanced techniques to process this part of the dish. 
  • I love purees - they hold well, aid in dressing the plate and is something i can get out of the way early. 
  • I love fried crispy things - once again they hold great, aid in dressing the plate, and can get out of the way early, a great contrast of texture between the puree
  • Keep garnish simple - this will be the last thing you do... your hands might be shaking, you might be late - dont not make this integral to your dish. 
  • Classic veg prep - turned veg cook a blanc or brun is impressive and dresses a plate well. 
  • Sauces - if you are doing a classic sauce, get it built early to infuse the flavour. If you monte or add cream you dont have to skim as often as the fat will hide a cloudy sauce. If you do the sauce early, cover it with cling film so it does not create a film to deal with. 
  • Dress you plate with it about a bain marie - or be ready to flash foods that can take it. Take you time dressing the plate - no point making all these elements if you cant plate them well (make a diagram!) 
  • I normally go for 3 elements for a challenge like this. With a max of 2 garnishing elements. 


good luck!

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you!! This has been really helpful I've made some notes on your tips to take with me on the day.

post #4 of 7



Great question.  I think HPross has some great ideas as far as technique wise.  I would like to address the more mental part of the situation. Market basket style events can be very stressful if you are not use to doing them.  First of all, keep it simple and stick to what you are great at.  This will allow you to produce a much better product under pressure if you have cooked it many times before or in a style that you have done before.  Stay clean, organized, and calm, a dirty work station produces dirty food.  You have 30 minutes to plan so that is more than enough to figure out what you are going to cook and how you are going to do it.  Do not spend all your time on the dish, spend the first 10 minutes on the dish and force yourself to come to terms and move on.  Build out a timeline in 10 minute intervals on what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.  This way you know if you are behind, ahead, etc... and will allow you to time your plating better.  Lastly, have fun and just cook, this is what you love to do, this is what comes naturally, if you let things come to you and cook with passion you will come out with a great product.  Good luck, I know you will do great!




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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

So the big day is tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes and what I made. Thanks for your advice!

post #6 of 7


post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

So I made southern fried chicken strips with a fruity salsa for my starter and my main was salmon baked with orange, resting on carrots (jullienne), new potatoes and wilted spinach. I came 2nd :) very pleased.

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