Back in 1996, a group of 3 men drinking beer on one of Bali's beaches were brainstorming on how best to challenge talented young chefs to improve their culinary skills. The 3 wise men – comprised of a representative of the Australian meat industry, a supplier of gourmet ingredients to Bali's hotels, and a chef - eventually devised the now time-proven and highly successful Black Box Culinary Challenge.Patra Bali Resort & Villas
Now having completed its sixth running, the Challenge brings together groups of eager young chefs – all under the age of 30 – who are given a mystery box containing sufficient quantities of Australian meats, dairy product and fresh produce to prepare a 3 course meal for 16 diners. The teams, under the watchful eye of their team captain, then have only one hour to devise a menu plan followed by 24 hours of intense work before they reconvene for the final cook-off.
A critical jury comprised of 5 local food experts judge the competing teams on the basis of composition, creativity, correct preparation, service practicality, taste, proper utilization of ingredients, presentation and consistency. Each cooking team is backed up by a service team whose task it is to wow 16 fortunate gourmands with their service and table presentation skills.
MLA Black Box Culinary Challenge 2004
Sponsored by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), this year's competition saw 9 hotels compete for honors.
Winning the top honors and the right to compete in the national Black Box cook-off in Jakarta was the cooking team of The Patra Resort and Spa. Named as the 1st runner up was the kitchen team from the Ritz Carlton Bali Resort and Spa followed by Sheraton Laguna Resort in the 2nd runner up post.
The Winning Menu
The Patra Resort team, managed by Mr. Timotius Hari Sunarto and comprised of Mr. I Wayan Mudita (Chef de Partie); Ms. Ida Ayu Pratiwisari (Demi Chef); Ms. Komang Sri Utari (Cook), prepared the following winning menu for a sumptuous luncheon served at the Bali International Convention Center (BICC) on Thursday, February 5, 2004:
MLA Black Box Culinary Challenge 2004 Menu
Smoked Salmon and Opaka-Opaka Fillet
Served with Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, Green and Red Capsicum, Drizzled with Ginger, Honey and Lemon Grass Dressing
Roasted Lamb Shoulder Rack
Served with Sautéed Portabella Mushrooms, Palm Heart, and Gratinated Potato, Enhanced with Thyme Jus
Pistachio Cream Cheese Cake and Fruit Compote
Served with Strawberry Vanilla Sauce
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