The 2017 Orkney Amateur Master Chef competition is now just a little more than a month away and the final call is out for entrants keen to come and test their culinary skills.
Four spaces on stage are up for grabs, with each contestant tasked with cooking their own three-course menu in-front of a live audience on the night.
A panel of expert judges will also taste-test the delicious food, made with the finest Orkney produce, before declaring an overall winner.
It might sound like a daunting prospect, but for 2015 Master Chef winner, Kerry Leask, it was the first step on what has become an incredible journey.
“I was encouraged to enter by a friend who had complimented me on my food in the past. I didn’t expect to get through to the final four so it was a big of a shock to find out I’d been selected,” she said.
“There’s no doubt that it was a nerve-wracking experience, especially walking onto the stage for the first time, but once you start cooking you really do zone everything else out and focus on your food.”
Kerry cooked a delicious meal of Surf n Turf Fishcakes, Raspberrylicious Duck and Orkney Fudge Pudding on the night (take a look at her recipes and try them yourself) which really impressed the judges.
“My advice would be ‘keep it simple’ – really tasty food doesn’t need to be fancy, just as long as it’s presented well and is cooked properly. Practice makes perfect too, try and try and try again just so you know your recipe off by heart.”
Since her Master Chef experience Kerry has continued to develop her cooking skills. She now prepares food for a local accommodation provider and has offered three-course meals on behalf of Orkney Food and Drink as part of BBC Orkney’s annual Children in Need appeal. She now also runs the café at the Pickaquoy Centre.
‘It just shows what can happen. It was a great experience and something I’m very glad I did,” said Kerry. “I’d encourage anyone to give it a go.”
So, if you have a friend out there who can cook up a storm in the kitchen, it’s time to start encouraging them now! The deadline for entries is Friday 25th August, with the event itself scheduled for the 27th of September.
You never know, it could open more doors than you think (and just think of all the tester dishes you’ll get to try)!