Thai Cooking Competition for Young Chefs

July 24th, 2017

Thai Cooking Contest
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Chef Nourhan Essam Mohamed of the Nile Ritz Carlton Wins the Thai Cooking Competition for Young Chefs.

Thai food has by now established itself as a “global brand”. In recent years, the Thai government has placed a great deal of energy and resources into promoting Thailand as a “Kitchen of the World”.

In line with the efforts of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Royal Thai Embassy in Cairo in cooperation with the Egyptian Chefs Association organized a Thai Cooking Competition for Young Chefs under 28 years of age. Only Egyptian nationals were entitled to enroll in the contest to demonstrate their talent in recreating authentic Thai flavors.
Nine enthusiastic young Egyptian chefs enrolled in the contest. The competition resembled a Thai marathon in cooking as they had to first compete in the selection round after which four were enrolled in the final round held on the following day. For the selection round the chefs had to cook 2 portions each of Tom Kha Kai (Thai Chicken Galangal Soup with Coconut Milk and Gai Phat Met Mamuang Himmaphan (Chicken with Cashew Nuts) within a 1 hour time limit in total.

The four competitors enrolled in the finals which were held the next day were Salma Saleh, 1st Commis of Four Seasons First Residence Hotel, Peter Reda, Chef de Partie of Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski and his colleague Lara Mohsen Chef at the same hotel and Nourhan Essam Mohamed Chef at the Nile Ritz Carlton. They had to cook four portions of Tom Yum Seafood (Spicy Thai Seafood Soup with Coconut Milk), Pad Thai Goong Sod (Thai Fried Noodle with Prawns) and Gaeng Khiao Wan Kai (Thai Green Curry Chicken) within a 2 hour time limit.

The Thai Ambassador, His Excellency Chainarong Kerattiyutwang, welcomed the finalists and addressed the audience before the start of the final round. His Excellency explained to the audience that a good Thai chef will know how to balance the four main flavors in Thai dishes – sweet, sour, salty and spicy. All Thai dishes contain a minimum of two or three of these flavors.
The competitors were judged by Thongbai Tathong, Chef de Cuisine of Ruen Thai Restaurant of the Dusit Thani Lakeview Hotel and Koraveet Yarangvong, Chef of Mirai Restaurant, who were both nominated by the Thai embassy to judge the contest. The Association nominated Chef Moustafa El Refaey, Certified Executive Chef & Partner of Zooba Restaurants and Wesam Masoud, Executive Chef of Arabesque as their jury members. While the competitors had to balance flavors the jury had to balance scores between points given for correct preparation and safe food handling practices to points given for achieving the most authentic Thai flavors with taste counting for 50 percent of the total score.

At the award ceremony, His Excellency Chainarong Kerattiyutwang, gave a thumbs-up to all the four competitors as he was impressed with their ability to prepare the dishes closely resembling authentic Thai flavors. He also complimented them on the overall team spirit and thanked the Egyptian Chefs Association for its excellent organization of the event. His Excellency then finally announced Nourhan Essam Mohamed as the overall winner. She also won the award for the Best Spicy Thai Seafood Soup, while Peter Reda received an award for the Best Thai Fried Noodles and the Best Thai Green Curry Chicken.

To conclude the successful day, Chef Koraveet Yarangvong assisted by Chef Thongbai Tathong gave a cooking demonstration that illustrated the right preparation of the Thai Fried Noodles with Prawns and Thai Green Curry Chicken. A tasting of the various ingredients and dishes added to the overall experience for the competitors and audience alike. The book “Secrets of Thai Cooking”, published by the Thailand Foundation, was also on hand so that all could take a Taste of Thailand back home.
The ECA wishes to thank the Royal Thai Embassy in Cairo for their initiative in launching the Thai Cooking Competition for Young Chefs. The ECA also wishes to thank all the competition participants for their inspired cooking and the jury members for their great contribution. Last but not least the ECA wishes to thank its loyal sponsors for supplying the ingredients and Monappetit Kitchen for hosting the event.
 

Thai Cooking Competition for Young Chefs 2017

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