Students of Les Roches Marbella’s BBA in International Hotel Management came together to compete for the title of Master Chef on Saturday, May 10th. The competition took place in the experiential learning facilities of the school’s Olivo Restaurant and included seven 2nd year students who are currently learning kitchen operations and culinary arts as part of the overall hotel management program.
Following the competitive challenges made popular by the globally televised series under the same name, each student was given a fully-equipped cooking station that contained a “mystery box” of ingredients with which they had to prepare a main course meal in under 60 minutes. The ingredients included fish, chicken, lamb, and a selection of fresh vegetables and spices. Each contestant had the option to choose one main or a combination of all three staples. Once they uncovered the ingredients, the clock began to count down and the pressure was on to execute a creative and delicious dish within the allotted time.
Not surprisingly, after five months of professional culinary training with Les Roches Marbella’s chefs, they all worked efficiently to complete their main courses on time. Meanwhile, the panel of judges observed their techniques and took note of the preparation procedures used in completing the dishes for presentation. The judges included Chef Alberto Verdugo, Chef Victor Fernandez, Mr. Hassan Djeebet, Mr. Moeed Shah, Ms. Gilda Peyregne, Mr. Jean Pierre Gonzalez, Ms. Sandra Becerra, Mr. Mano Soler, and Mr. Andres Cardenas.
After a difficult judging process that took into consideration the creative use of ingredients, color, aesthetic presentation, and most importantly, taste, the results of each dish were placed into envelopes and tallied to narrowly decide the winner.
The results are as follows:
1st Place – Rene Castillo (grilled lamb presented on a slate tablet with steamed parsnip and artichoke)
2nd Place – Natasha Vieira (herb steamed mussels and hake served over a bed of rice)
3rd Place – Neel Vaghela (grilled lamb and steamed rice with a spicy vegetable stir fry)
Patricia Blanco (grilled lamb and vegetable stir fry)
Younes Ezzardi (smoked chicken with a zesty marinate and vegetable puré)
Juan Ignacio Sanchez (lemon & herb chicken with Chinese noodles)
Bryan Laverdure (surf & turf over steamed rice and grilled vegetables)
For his first place finish, René Castillo was awarded a fine dining experience for two at Hotel Puente Romano’s Sea Grill Restaurant while each contestant received a consolation prize for a meal at Small World Café.
Additionally, each student was simultaneously competing for their LRM House fraternity and the top three were given 10, 8, and 6 points respectively to be tallied in the total of the overall House competition this semester. As it stands, after the competition, the Red House is in first place this semester with 28 points, Purple House 26 Points, Blue House 22 Points, and the Green House with 18 points.
We wish to thank each of the participants and judges for their enthusiasm and creativity in making the first Master Chef Challenge a success. Their hard work and dedication has set the foundation for future Master Chef challenges.