Young Chefs Impress in The Okura Prestige Bangkok’s Culinary Initiative

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The Okura Prestige Bangkok has organised a special event on the occasion of the hotel’s 5-year anniversary and as part of its ‘Five Years of Success, Five Months of Sharing’ project, which began in January 2017. The event was the culmination of a cooking competition in which a young Thai chef won a 9-day culinary educational trip to the Hotel Okura Amsterdam.

In March The Okura Prestige Bangkok invited students studying in the hospitality, kitchen and tourism industries to take part in the cooking competition and received a large number of applications via short cooking video on Facebook and video clips sent to the organizing committee. In the first round of the competition, six hotel executives selected the top 10 applicants for face-to-face interviews with Executive Chef Antony Scholtmeyer. He then selected the 5 finalists who were given the opportunity to train for three weeks during May 2017 in the kitchen of Yamazato Japanese Restaurant with Master Chef Shigeru Hagiwara. The finalists then demonstrated their culinary skills and presented their chosen dishes at the Judges’ Panel Night held on 9 June 2017.

On the first day of training in the kitchen at Yamazato Japanese Restaurant, the 5 finalists were assigned an alphabetic designation based on ‘O K U R A’:

– Representing O was Ms. Samini Sukchan

– Representing K was Ms. Orathai Kittisiddho

– Representing U was Ms. Pitchakorn Ramabut

– Representing R was Ms. Pimlapat Tantisrisuk

– Representing A was Mr. Thada Ekprathumchai

During the training at Yamazato, Chef Hagiwara divided the training into 5 segments: sushi and sashimi, Tempura, boiling and simmer, grilled, and the Teppanyaki. All of the contestants received instruction under professional chefs for 3-days for each segment, rotating until the training was complete. In addition, Chef Hagiwara spent time every day with each contestant to give them an intensive personal training on Japanese culinary techniques.

Throughout the three weeks of training, The Okura Prestige Bangkok invited its executive committee and the heads of each department in the hotel, plus members of the media and food specialists, to interview, assess and rate the contestants during visits to Yamazato’s kitchen. The scoring criteria were based on the contestants’ ability to learn, and their level of commitment and participation.

During the last two days of training, each contestant had the opportunity to practice their culinary skills and to prepare to cook for the Judges’ Panel Night. At the Judges’ Panel Night on 9 June 2017 each contestant was required to prepare 4 dishes – sushi, sashimi, a simmered dish and a special creation dish – and present them to the 12 judges who scored them on appearance and taste.

All contestants are rewarded with a certificate of achievement from Master Chef Hagiwara on the last day of training.

The finalist who received the highest score, accumulated from the first day of training to the Judges’ Panel Night, was Khun Pitchakorn Ramabut from Dusit Thani College and she received the winner’s trophy specially designed with Sake Box shaped as Mount Fuji, which the Japanese recognise as ‘Ichi Ban’ or Number One, from Master Chef Shigeru Hagiwara. Khun Pitchakorn also received the highlight prize of a 9-day educational trip to Hotel Okura Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The trip, valued at more than 100,000 Baht, includes air tickets, 8 nights’ accommodation at Hotel Okura Amsterdam, luncheon and dinner at Michelin starred restaurants (Yamazato restaurant and Ciel Bleu restaurant), day trips in Amsterdam, visa and travel insurance, pocket money and, best of all, the opportunity to train under two-star Michelin Chef Onno Kokmeijer. Chef Onno holds the title SVH Meesterchef (master chef), awarded by the Dutch hospitality organization Stichting Vakbekwaamheid Horeca. SVH strives to promote professional knowledge in the hospitality industry and awards ‘master’ titles in five categories including chefs, hosts and sommeliers. The SVH ‘master’ title is the highest honour awarded by the Dutch hospitality industry. Other contestants were rewarded with a voucher for 1 night stay at The Okura Prestige Bangkok inclusive of breakfast for 2 persons.

For more inquiries about the competition and scoring, please contact the Public Relations Department at 02 687 9000 or pr@okurabangkok.com.