Ashley Baty, since early 2014 the sous chef at Pen-y-bryn, has just competed against young chefs from all over New Zealand in the Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs competition held annually by the New Zealand bailliage of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. This august group, with 25,000 members in 80 countries, has a history dating back to the year 1248, when the goose roasters of France were united as a guild by King Louis IX. The organisation, along with all French guilds, was disbanded in the wake of the French Revolution in 1789, but was reinstated in 1950 by a group of French gourmets as a means of reviving the “culture of the table” in postwar Europe. Today one of the Chaîne’s main objectives is to cultivate young chefs and sommeliers, and as part of that, each year national competitions are held to select each member nation’s competitor, who then competes against all the others to pick that year’s “best in the world”. New Zealand has an illustrious history in this competition, being the only country to have a contestant win the international competition twice, and in fact two of our young chefs won that honour.
The competition is conducted as a “mystery box”, so they had no idea before the competition began what materials they would have to work with. While Ashley did not emerge with the winner’s cup this year, she is already planning to compete in next year’s competition, scheduled to be held in Christchurch, and proud of her having produced the “dish of the competition”.
You can read more about the competition, and its winner, in an article from the Dominion Press by clicking here.