Caitlyn Blakely didn’t believe she won a place in a national cooking competition.
The winner of the National Secondary Schools Culinary Competition (NSSCC) Waikato regional final took a call from her teacher Will Cawkwell who had the news.
“I didn’t feel as though my dish was as good as the others and I seemed to underestimate how well my dish was but I’m very proud of myself.
“It came as a very big surprise to me, especially all the messages afterwards, it was very overwhelming.”
The Te Awamutu College student Blakely found her passion for cooking during intermediate school after taking food technology classes which she carried through into high school.
“During this time, I often cooked and baked alot during weekends just for the fun of it, and to eat of course,” she said.
As a Year 12 student this year Blakely has been taking hospitality and was encouraged by her teachers to compete in the National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge because they were impressed by her work.
But from that she had to create a recipe using some interesting elements to her dish.
“I needed to create a recipe including waffles, and my teacher Maree Letford suggested I cook with waffles and broccoli,” she said.
After some research she sat down and wrote a recipe for SouthWest styled Deep Fried Broccoli with Green Waffles, crispy Bacon, Chipotle Maple Butter, Red Peppers and Fresh Spring Onion.
In class she practiced each component every day, and when it came to competition day, she managed to nail every element to her dish.
The News has the winning recipe for readers to try today.
Caitlyn will now move to focusing on the national competition a little under two months away.
Each regional winner will choose a teammate and compete in the NSSCC Grand Final against seven other regional teams on 8th September in Auckland.