Last year, a formidable culinary duo was formed. Gemma Harris and Ellise McCully embarked on a journey of personal sacrifice and excellence as they competed against other dedicated students in local and international secondary school culinary competitions. The pair achieved outstanding results achieving a Gold medal and first place in the Queensland Secondary Schools Culinary Competition and following this with a Silver medal in the International Secondary Schools Culinary Competition.
In April this year, Gemma and Ellise returned to the competition kitchen, competing once again in the highly competitive Queensland State Culinary Competition, held at Southbank TAFE in April. The girls won another Gold medal, retaining their title as State Culinary Champions, securing their invitation to compete at the International Secondary Schools Culinary Championships in Taiwan during the September school holidays. The girls performed exceptionally in Taiwan, not only being awarded a Gold medal for their dish, but also achieving third place overall in the competition. This in itself is a tremendous achievement. The girls made competition history; being the first non-culinary specific secondary students to ever place at this international level – a result that is truly commendable!
The objective of secondary school culinary competitions is for a team of two student competitors to ‘prepare, cook and display four servings of one main dish within one hour, from start to finish.’ The dish may be modern, classic or original in design and the ingredients used to prepare the dish must be selected from a supplied product list. In order to receive a Gold medal, the team must maintain a score of 90 or more out of a possible 100 points. Each team in the competition starts with a perfect score (100 points). As the team of judges scrutinise the competitors, points are deducted for even the slightest imperfections across technical categories. The aim of each team is to hold on to as many of their points as possible. The criteria from which they are scored includes categories such as culinary skills, dish design, taste and presentation, as well as the ability to produce the dish within a set budget.
The results the girls have achieved over the past 2 years have been a credit to their hard work and dedication. Even though the girls are graduating from Trinity this year and Taiwan marks the end of their culinary competition journey, the personal growth, skills and perseverance they have acquired as a results of these competitions, will be a constant reminder to them that dreams work when you do. Congratulations once again, Gemma and Ellise!