The fast-paced realities of the kitchen were felt by eight students at South West TAFE in a Masterchef-style challenge on Wednesday.
Dividing into two teams to plate up a two-course meal for five judges, the students put their 14 weeks of knowledge from their certificate III in commercial cookery to the test.
The stakes were high for students with local food industry brain's Dave Decarteret from the Dart and Marlin, Raj Patel, of Clovelly Restaurant, city councillor Kylie Gaston, TAFE's marketing manager Narelle Allen and industry connect coordinator Natasha Wilkinson, judging their work.
"When we came into the kitchen this morning we all thought we'd be doing a type of challenge but when our teacher Quentin Beare told us there'd be people coming in to judge we had to change all our plans," student Liz O'Rourke said.
Given lamb, lamb's fry, herb butter, apple, pasta and bechamel sauce to use either all or parts of, the blue and green teams had to plate up a main and dessert meal for their judges.
Combining their food knowledge and the skills they had learnt, the two teams were able to fulfil the challenge requirements with sensational results.
The blue team's two-course meal began with Panmure lamb medallions, Koroit organic lamb liver mousse on top of Terang two cheese fusilli enhanced by Warrnambool herb buttered carrots. The team backed up their delectable main with Heywood poached apples served with dairy cream and anglaise sauce.
Over on the green side the team joined forces to produce a homemade Moroccan-styled lamb pie filled with onions, carrot and a harissa-style ricotta cheese on top with some crunchy vegetables and pasta on the side. Their second-course was a wholesome dessert consisted of a poached apple sitting on top of creamy rice and cranberry pudding alongside a deconstructed crumble finished with cream and caramel sauce.
The judges were astounded.
"The standard of the lamb was beautiful, just magnificent," Mr Patel said.
"I would be happy to pay for the dish at a restaurant.
"It's really important for the students to prep up their meals and give them to people to taste - it's a learning curve."
With a group ranging from 16-64, Mr Beare was proud of his students.
"The feedback from the judges has been really good," he said.
"14 weeks ago some of these students had no idea about the construction of a dish and now they're able to bring textures and flavours alive on the plate.
"It's great to see our classes are educating the students in the right way."
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