Lakefield Level 2 student Anastasia de Menezes has won two highly-contested Bronze medals at the Wessex Salon Culinaire Competition in the Napkin Folding and the Theme Table Layup. One of the UK’s largest live culinary competitions, the Wessex Salon Culinaire took place at Brockenhurst College in the New Forest on the 27th and 28th of May.
The prestigious competition, held in association with the Craft Guild of Chefs, is split into five challenging categories: Live Hot, Live Cold, Restaurant, Display and Wessex Bake Off – the last being inspired by the highly popular TV show The Great British Bake Off. From the Live Hot section to Napkin Folding in the Restaurant Table Display, all work is performed against the clock and under the judges’ close scrutiny. The two day event saw 356 participants compete in 48 classes across the five categories; and out of an incredible 598 entries, Lakefield’s contestants – 17 year-old Anastasia and 19 year-old Isabel Fortin – emerged victorious.
Anastasia said, “I was a bit tense at first, but winning this competition gave me loads of satisfaction and a sense of reward, and has fuelled my drive to do even better! It was a really great experience. I’ve gained a valuable insight into the world of professional competitions and the high standards that everyone is striving for.”
Anastasia carried off the Bronze medal in the Napkin Folding category. Given only 10 minutes, competitors needed to use their knowledge and creativity to produce 3 sets of duplicate napkin folds, appropriate for fine dining, banqueting and finally for a room service tray.
Anastasia’s second Bronze medal was awarded for her work in the Themed Table Layup category, in which competitors had 15 minutes to lay tables appropriate to a themed prize-giving ceremony, with a menu and wine choices for a three-course dinner and coffee.
When asked what the benefits of entering such a competition were, Anastasia said, “You meet lots of people like me, who are just starting out – but you also get to meet professionals in the industry. You’ve got the opportunity to perform to your best, showing your work and your abilities – and hopefully, if you’ve impressed them, they can support you.”