iChef is a platform created by the School of Hospitality (SOH) of Republic Polytechnic (RP) to promote interest and unleash creativity and potential in the areas of food & beverage and culinary. One of the main activities of iChef is the annual Culinary Competition initiated by the staff and students of the Diploma in Restaurant and Culinary Operations (DRCO) programme of SOH for secondary school students to promote this interest. The 3-year DRCO programme trains students in both the front service and kitchen operations of food and beverage establishments for the industry.
The iChef Culinary Competition, believably the first national culinary competition to be organised by a tertiary institution for secondary schools in Singapore, has attracted more than 121 teams of 242 secondary students from 40 secondary schools this year. The teams competed in 10 preliminary rounds in May/June and 24 of which competed in the semi-finals held on 23 June 2012. During the semi-finals, a mystery ingredient challenge was incorporated where participants had to incorporate mystery ingredients including mango, tiger prawns and mushrooms into their recipes. Ten teams of 2 competed in the Finals on 5 September 2012.
This year’s theme for the Finals was Cuisine for Health and the finalists are expected to showcase their talent in creating and cooking a nutritional main dish that will impress the judges. A marketing challenge was also incorporated where participants had to purchase their ingredients within a budget of $20 and 30 minutes at a mystery location, which was only be revealed on the day of the competition.
a) Winner: 2 new iPads and SGD$1,000 in cash, Champion Trophy
b) 1st Runner Up: Cash prize of SGD$1,500 and Trophy
c) 2nd Runner Up: Cash prize of SGD$500 and Trophy
d) Certificates of Participation for all contestantsContestants
A total of 121 teams (comprise 2 members each) of secondary school students from 40 schools participated in the competition. A total of 24 teams were shortlisted to the semi-finals held on 23 June 2012. Ten teams were selected to the finals held on 5 September 2012.iChef Finals Judging
Judges for the Finals include some of Singapore’s renowned and Celebrity Chefs and the panel of Judges is as follows:
1. Chef Otto Weibel, Singapore Chefs Association
2. Chef Eric Teo, Singapore Chefs Association
3. Chef Edmund Toh, Singapore Chefs Association
4. Ms Vanitha Buthmanaban, Health Promotion Board
5. Mr Chua Yeow Chong, Sales Director, Lam Soon Singapore Pte Ltd (Sponsor’s Representative)
The judges found the contestants’ creations well-thought out and well-balanced in terms of nutritional requirement. Most of the contestants also displayed good plating skills. Marketing Challenge
On 5 September 2012, the top 10 teams arrived at 7.30 am and were given 30 minutes and a budget of $20 per team to purchase their ingredients from a mystery market, which was only revealed on the day of the competition.
The contestants had to work together to find their way in an unfamiliar environment to look for their ingredients, utilise their allocated budget wisely by bargaining for the best price, watch their shopping timing and even think out of the box to look for substitute ingredients. A few teams had to break the language barrier to use dialects to communicate with the stall owners who did not speak English. Some teams were well-prepared with a well-researched market list.
After the exciting marketing challenge, contestants had 1.5 hours to cook up a main dish using the sponsored ingredients including USA poultry, Naturel oil and Woh Hup sauces, as well as the ingredients they purchased during the morning challenge. iChef Prize Presentation Ceremony on 5 September 2012
About 200 guests including principals, teachers, association partners, parents and supporters gathered at Republic Polytechnic’s South Agora. The Guest-of-Honour, Ms Ellen Lee, Member of Parliament, Sembawang GRC presented the prizes to the top 10 winners. Results of Finals
A BIG thank you to all iChef contestants, teachers, principals, parents and supporters for taking the iChef journey with us!
Special thanks to our partners, Lam Soon Singapore (Pte) Ltd, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council and Singapore Chefs Association, for supporting and making this project a big success.
See you at iChef 2013!Video Highlights