On March 18th I had the great pleasure of being one of the non-chef judges for Protur Chef 2017 on Mallorca. The main judges for the competition – which was on from March 16th-19th – were the chefs Tomeu Caldentey, Marc Fosh, Fran López, and the famous twins Javier and Sergio Torres. If it hadn’t been for the fact that the twins’ names were embroidered on their chef jackets, I’d not have been able to tell one from the other! Chef and gastronomy consultant Koldo Royo acted as Master of Ceremonies.
My stint was just for the Saturday morning, as other food writers, bloggers, and broadcasters also took turns on the panel for different stages of the cooking contest. When I entered the auditorium of the Protur Biomar Gran Hotel & Spa in Sa Coma I was instantly impressed by the professional set-up awaiting the young chefs who would be cooking on stage later.
10 cooking schools, 20 student chefs
The 20 student chefs each had to create a dish costing no more than seven euros and based on Mallorca’s famous black pork. They’d come from 10 different cooking schools all over Spain to take part. We were able to observe the young chefs on stage with the aid of video cameras that projected live images onto what I was told was the largest screen on Mallorca. Then we were able to see and taste the finished dishes and give our comments.
Participating cookery schools:
- Escola d’Hosteleria de les Illes Balears (EHIB)
- IES Puig de Sa Font
- Amadip Esment Escola de Mallorca
- IES Juniper Serra
- IES Alcúdia
- Hotel Escuela SC de Canarias HECANSA
- EUHT de Sant Pol de Mar
- Escuela Superior de Hostelería y Agroturismo ESHAEX
- CIFP Carlos Aroza
- Centro Superior de Hostelería Mediterráneo
I was unable to attend the final, on the Sunday, but imagine the atmosphere was incredible as the results were announced afterwards:
José Antonio Rodríguez, pupil of EUHT of Sant Pol de Mar, was the proud winner of the First Edition of the National School Cooking Contest ‘PROTUR CHEF 2017’. Second place went to Tenerife, represented by Javier Jiménez of Hotel Escuela SC of the Canaries HECANSA, and third place to Toni Riera from Mallorca – a pupil of IES Puig de Sa Font.
I didn’t learn to cook until I’d left home and, as a result, believe that every child should have some basic cooking lessons. This contest for keen budding chefs of the future – aged between 8 and 12 – took place over the same weekend.
During my stint on the judging panel we watched the first nine (of 18) youngsters preparing a salad, after they’d had three minutes to select their ingredients from a market-stall-type display. At a later stage, they would be decorating cakes. Anxious parents sat in the audience, willing their offspring to do well.
At the end of the contest, the winners were:
- Antònia Roser Sitges – 1st prize
- Marina Vaquer – 2nd
- Aurelio Ucendo – 3rd
Well done to all the contestants and to everyone involved in the organisation of the competition. I’m sure I’m not the only person looking forward to Protur Chef 2018…I just hope they invite me back as a judge!
©Jan Edwards 2017