Jamaica Blue Knox City cafe franchise chef takes out Golden Cuisine winning title for a second year
Jamaica Blue would like to congratulate Ashley Sheppard of Jamaica Blue Knox City in Victoria on being named national winner at the café franchise's second annual Jamaica Blue Golden Cuisine Awards. Sheppard beat out competitors from more than 80 Jamaica Blue café franchises across Australia and New Zealand to win the coveted title.
The annual Jamaica Blue Golden Cuisine Challenge is part of a master plan to ensure that cafés within the franchise network are working consistently to create high quality meals. Initiated and judged by the Foodco Group, the Golden Cuisine Challenge is designed to showcase the best breakfast and lunch dishes prepared and served daily at Jamaica Blue café franchises.
From February through to April 2011, the Jamaica Blue operations team visited their café franchises across the country to find the best and freshest food each state had to offer. In addition to taste and presentation, the participating chefs were judged on their kitchen hygiene, dish presentation, delivery-time, food knowledge and knife skills. The competition also placed its competitors in a Masterchef style race to create interesting new dishes.
The Jamaica Blue café franchises were grouped into regions, and in May the finalists from each region were flown to Sydney to compete at the Jamaica Blue training centre.
"On the first day we attended a cooking class together," explains Sheppard.
"On the second day we got into the competition, and the first test was a unique cooking challenge. We had to design a dish that we could make at any Jamaica Blue café franchise, that could be made as a display item," he adds.
In this section, Ashley impressed the judges with his simple yet tasty creation eggless tart with oven roasted eggplant and capsicum, grilled chorizo and caramelised onion, topped off with a home-made basil pesto sauce.
Being crowned the winner of the national title was a familiar feeling for the young chef, after taking out the inaugural title last year.
"Somehow I managed to back it up and win two years in a row," says Sheppard, who was hoping for the best but certainly not expecting to win.
Sheppard was not the only member of Jamaica Blue Knox City judged as part of the challenge, the store itself was judged on everything from cabinet presentation to correct adherence to food safety procedures.
Calling his win a team effort, Sheppard says he will definitely be giving the Golden Cuisine food challenge a go again next year so he can try for the hat trick.