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Monday, 24 November 2014 02:01 pm

Dissecting cows’ eyes not as tasty as chocolate mousse

Natalies prototype desert

TASTY TREATS: Natalie’s prototype dessert plate

AFTER fainting seven times during a cow’s eye dissection, Natalie Howell realised that veterinary wasn’t for her and decided to take up patisserie.

For the 16-year-old first-year patisserie student, the cooking competitions held as part of the Wellington Culinary Fair pose a new challenge for 2013.

After entering last year as a school student and competing against professional chefs, Natalie is making a second attempt.

“I came one point off getting a bronze certificate so I was pretty proud of that.” Natalie says.

Natalie says her sweet tooth comes from having to bake her own cakes and desserts when she was younger because her mum would never buy them.

Her dish for 2012 consisted of triple chocolate mousse cake with a berry brandy coulis and chocolate roses, vines and leaves.

“I’d never been in a competition before so I didn’t really realize how fancy most people do it,” she says.

This year she will be entering the cold-plated dessert category with poached pears, chocolate mouse in a “chocolate spiraly thingymajig” and almond and saffron cake.

“The easiest to stuff up would probably be the mousse, it’s so easy to over-whip it, which makes it dense.” She says.

Although other categories require contestants to prepare their food in front of the judges, Natalie says all she has to do is bring in all her food, put in on a plate and then walk away.

Last year the competition had about eight contestants, but Natalie is unsure of what to expect this year.

She says nobody managed to gain a gold level award as they were unable to meet the 90 to 100 points required to meet gold standards.

Other students in the Wellington Institute of Technology’s Certificate in Patisserie are also competing in the food competitions but are entering with novelty cakes instead.

Natalie says although the competition is not part of her course, her tutors have been supportive in helping to organise her entry and give advice.

Natalie plates up her 2012 entry.

Natalie plates up her 2012 entry

The fair will be held this Friday to Sunday at Westpac Stadium as part of the Wellington Food Show.Anita Sarginson, spokesperson for the culinary fair says they are expecting about 20,000 visitors to the food show and have about 120 contestants entered in all the competitions.

The judging will be in accordance to guidelines set out by the World Association of Chefs (WACS).

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is a Whitireia journalism student at the Media Training School. Originally from Nelson, Jacob is now covering the Te Aro area of the Wellington city. He is interested in the effects of social media on journalism and integrating multimedia in his stories.
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