Junior cooks to be put to the test. Picture by Sergiy Bykhunenko.
Junior cooks to be put to the test. Picture by Sergiy Bykhunenko.

Junior cooks to be put to the test

By Buhle Mbonambi Time of article published Aug 14, 2018

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Does your child have what it takes to be the next culinary star? 

Buhle Mbonambi spoke to radio and television personality, Terence Pillay, who will host the first Pavilion Junior Chef Competition this year.

How much of an impact have cooking TV shows and competitions had on families?

  • It’s had a significant impact in that it’s made them realise that there’s actually a creative cook in everyone. It’s also bringing families together, everyone gets involved with cooking dinner and it ultimately brings families back to the table as opposed to scoffing down their food in front of the TV.

We have also seen junior versions of these shows. Is there a time where we will have eateries that have food prepared by youngsters?

  • It’s already happening a lot in the UK. I don’t see why this can’t happen here. Obviously, there are other matters like child labour issues but if it’s a themed night at a restaurant and a fun experience, why not?

It’s still difficult for many people to afford to go to culinary school. Do you think these kinds of shows have opened up the culinary world to even those who love cooking, but don’t have the funds to follow their culinary dreams?

  • Absolutely! With the advent of the internet, and platforms like YouTube you can basically learn anything you want online.

Is it due to the popularity of these shows that you thought of the Pavilion Junior Chef competition?

  • There was definitely a gap in the market. It’s also a campaign that resonates with all those who fancy themselves as a bit of a culinary genius.

Why do you think youngsters should enter this competition?

  • Apart from the phenomenal prize package, it also gives young foodies a platform to showcase what they can do in the kitchen. We’re all breaking new ground and it will be incredible for these kids to be a part of this history.

What are you looking for in the eventual winner?

  • We’re looking for a bright young cooking star - someone who wants to perhaps make this industry their life.

What kind of challenges will they be expected to go through?

  • Each child will be required to prepare their “signature dish” in an allocated time. 
  • They will be given basic pantry and fridge items and if they want to include any additional ingredients they are welcome to bring those in. 
  • At the end of the hour, they will present the dishes to a panel of celebrity judges, of which one is a renowned Durban chef, and get scored on these dishes. 
  • A finalist will be chosen in each of the three weekly heats and will compete in a grand finale where the Ultimate Pavilion Junior Chef will be chosen.

Can you reveal what the prizes are?

  • An Elba gas stove, a food holiday for four from the Wildekrans Wine Estate (with a master class with the head chef from Forage Restaurant ) and vouchers from Toys R Us. The package totals just over R50000.

The competition is aimed at children aged 9 -12. Aspiring chefs are encouraged to send a 30- to 45-second video clip of themselves explaining why they deserve to be nominated as one of the Junior Chef contestants and email the video to [email protected] Entries close on August 31, 2018.

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