A.F. Adderley’s Anyah Coke wins New Providence Junior Young Chef Competition
Anyah Coke, a student of A. F. Adderley Junior High School, is the winner of the New Providence District Junior High School Young Chef Competition. She earned the right to represent New Providence in the National Junior School Young Chef Competition to be held in March.
Coke’s coconut lemon meringue muffin and tropical seafood fried rice won over the judges, positioning her as winner of both the Best Rice and Best Flour categories.
Chef Devin Johnson said that, although “old school”, Coke’s presentation was well-executed and presented with excellent color.
“The rice had very good flavor. Cupcake is exactly what it says it is – zest of lemon, coconut. Here we saw a technique used… a meringue is made and torched. This technique is used in professional competitions.”
Chef Owen Bain noted the balanced flavor in Coke’s rice and muffin.
“Nothing over-seasoned or over-cooked, which is sometimes a challenge. Although it had different components it made your palate zing. Torching the cupcake actually brought out the natural flavor of the lemon. Everybody did cupcakes so the technique in the cupcake made it light. Technically and flavor-wise it was a great dish.”
D.W. Davis student Kendra Estil was scored in second place. H.O. Nash student Chuck’hia Weech was scored third. Kingsway Academy student Breyah Archer was fourth. L.W. Young student Alexia Bethel rounded out the field in fifth.
In its 27th year, the Young Chef Competition is organized by the Ministry of Education and sponsored by Mahatma Rice and Robin Hood Flour. This year’s theme was “Creatively Embracing Indigenous Foods through Innovation for Sustainable Development”.
Students were required to prepare dishes using Mahatma Rice and Robin Hood Flour.
Raquel Turnquest, acting education officer, family and consumer science unit, said students aren’t told what meal they are to prepare. As a result, she said this is where their creativity comes into play.
“Most of the students, if they are adhering to the theme, will be looking at indigenous products – what can you do with ‘ju-jus’, mango, sapodilla fruits or seafood, and what can be produced with rice or flour from any of our indigenous food.”
Students were allotted two hours to prepare their dishes. This was followed by a judges’ tasting, which included chefs Emmanuel Gibson, Johnson, Devan McPhee, Bain and Keisha Rahming. The students then presented explanations of their dishes to the chefs, which were then scored and critiqued.
Johnson said generally none of the dishes were bad.
“Every dish had flavor, but when we’re judging we have to look at the wow factor to see what would take it over the top to the next level.”
As the national thrust is toward sustainability, Turnquest said students were being encouraged to use locally produced goods in their dishes.
“In the classroom setting, all of our junior and senior high students take a food and nutrition course. Some at the senior high level take a hospitality and tourism studies course with a culinary arts component. They learn how to prepare dishes, follow recipes, measure things properly, ratios, produce cakes, breads, etc. Over the course of time they get experience producing dishes whether its salads, proteins or soups.”
Turnquest said students get a number of skills training in the family and consumer science education program, which she said is why the program is good.
“It’s promotional activity that gets the kids excited about learning. It gets them to put their learning into practice,” said Turnquest.