The Egyptian Chefs Association concluded another successful competition event at the renowned Hace hotel supply trade fair in Cairo.
After the official opening by His Excellency Hisham Za'zou, Minister of Tourism of the Arabic Republic of Egypt, Hace'12, organized by the Egyptian Group for Marketing, received thousands of trade visitors who came to see what was new on the market for the hospitality and catering sector. Although this year's edition of Hace was not as large as other years, due to the present economic circumstances, at the booth of the Egyptian Chefs Association it was the usual buzz of excited professional chefs, eager to compete in the various live cooking contests.
The ECA booth was also honored to receive a special visit by Her Excellency Anne Patterson, United States Ambassador to Egypt, who showed genuine interest in the work of the Association, especially its efforts in the field of chefs' education. After the official visits, the chefs continued competing in the live cooking kitchens under the watchful eye of the expert jury team. Four of the judges were especially flown in for the event.
At the competitions, the skill level of the chefs showed some pleasant and unpleasant surprises. Overall, the best outcome of this year's Hace was the number of graduates of the Culinary Training Centers of Egypt who reached the award level, taking away many of the first, second and third placements at several contests (see the winners list). Some competitions showed marked improvement in skill level, such as the Female Chef of the Year, where all five competitors, also graduates of the Culinary Training Centers, excelled in organization, efficiency and proper cooking. Then again, other competitions such as Junior Chef of the Year, Chicken Dish, Pasta Dish, Mystery Basket and CanapĂ©s showed a real downfall in skill level. Many of the winners of these competitions did not even reach a medal award according to WACS International competition rules. As always, there were some disqualifications of competitors who did not read the rules properly, or who wasted too many foods or just showed nonprofessional working methods. To avoid disqualifications or a downfall in level next year, the chefs who wish to compete at Hace would have to join the competition training program, followed by a selection cook off so that at the trade fair itself only the best of the best will be competing.
The Asian cuisine competition saw an upward trend this year, which is promising with the expected higher number of Asian tourists coming to the country. Senior Chef of the Year also showed some better skills this time around. The Cup Cake competition, a new addition at Hace'12, was a great success and the only competition where a gold medal was scored, by Suzanne Mokhtar, Pastry Chef & Owner of a la Suzanne Patisserie & Confectionary.
ECA's birthday celebrations for the Association's 15th Anniversary added some extra fun for competitors and visitors alike. Visitors were invited to vote for the cake with the best presentation and, after judging, all the cakes were distributed among ECA's loyal sponsors. The taste and texture of most of the cakes was excellent, while the presentation could use some further work on detail and refinement. Meanwhile at ECA's information desk, visitors from near and far were guessing the contents of a jar filled with a different ingredient each day, from lentils to broad beans, among others.
Overall, it was once again a successful Hace at which the Association welcomed many new members and friends, spoke to the press and had many chefs cooking up a storm.
The ECA wishes to thank all its members, sponsors and friends who contributed to this year's event.