KITCHEN MASTERS: 2019 NSW Regional Nestl Golden Chef's Hat Award National Finalists Siobhan McCowat and Owen Cootes.
KITCHEN MASTERS: 2019 NSW Regional Nestl Golden Chef's Hat Award National Finalists Siobhan McCowat and Owen Cootes. Elizabeth Allnutt

Siobhan and Owen prove they can handle the heat

TWO local chefs have proven their class in the kitchen, coming third in a national competition for young cooks. 

Siobhan McCowat and Owen Cootes, who both work at Velvets Restaurant at Two Tails Wines, came third in Australia's longest running culinary competition for budding chefs. 

The pair cooked-up bronze medals for their entrée, main and dessert courses at the finals of the 2019 Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award at Fine Food Australia. 

The pair particularly impressed the judging panel with their entrée course of roasted root vegetable salad with tomato coulis and mixed herb cream cheese.

Siobhan and Owen put their nerves aside and were proud to be representing their home state. 

"We were a little nervous to start but once we got cooking we were fine," Siobhan said. 

"It's been such a great experience and we've really enjoyed the atmosphere, cooking in the public arena is a real adrenaline rush."

The roasted root vegetable salad with tomato coulis and mixed herb cream cheese entree cooked by Siobhan and Owen.
The roasted root vegetable salad with tomato coulis and mixed herb cream cheese entree cooked by Siobhan and Owen. Elizabeth Allnutt

This year's national champions were Giles Gabutina and Alessio Nogarotto who were awarded a $15,000 culinary trip of a lifetime to North America.

"Each and every competitor performed to an exceptional level," Executive chef at Nestlé Professional Mark Clayton said. 

"They were focused, determined and pushed themselves to deliver some outstanding dishes. The future looks bright for these young chefs." 

Celebrating 54 years in 2019, the competition exists to support the country's top emerging culinary talent and has helped develop the careers of over 7000 talented chefs since its inception. 



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