WARRNAMBOOL'S best young chefs have crafted dishes they hope could open doors for them to cook on a national or even worldwide stage.
The 10 apprentices presented a panel of Melbourne and local judges with Asian, traditional-Australian and European cuisine on Monday, at a WorldSkills competition at South West TAFE.
The contest was an entry-level qualifier to opportunities to compete at a national and international level.
Head judge Paul McLeod said the young chefs were apprentices at the city's restaurants, and the contest was an opportunity to show off their learning.
"It is fairly high pressure, so just for them to compete, they're already a winner," said Mr McLeod between announcing aloud each five minutes as the chefs worked in quiet concentration.
Bryce McDonald, an apprentice at Clovelly Restaurant, said the contest was an opportunity to focus on his craft.
"It's always go, go, go in a restaurant, there isn't a lot of free time to try something new," the 20-year-old said.
"You learn most of your skills at work but it's more personalised in these competition scenarios."
An Australian delegation of talented young tradespeople recently competed at the biennial international WorldSkills competition, this year in Russia. An Australian WorldSkills contest will take place next year during the international contest's off year.
McDonald said he had prepared his dishes while experimenting at home to vie for an opportunity to compete on a bigger stage. But he also entered to compare his skills with other young apprentices.
"The main reason was the gain experience and a feel for what competitions are like," he said.
The event was the first WorldSkills competition hosted at South West TAFE, with contests also for automotive and hairdressing this week.
Judges will announce all winners next Tuesday.
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