Time Out readers picked Atlantis Chef de Cuisine Wesley Berghoff as their Young Chef of the Year at a glittering ceremony at the Miele Gallery last night.
South African Wesley, 27, took the trophy back to his kitchen after a win of the narrowest of margins. Just a single point separated him from the second-placed chef in a contest that saw just four points between all four competitors.
Wesley did it with a starter of slow-cooked salmon and cured red snapper, a beef consommé soup with braised topside, a main course featuring sous vide lamb and saffron lamb jus, and a dessert of roasted white chocolate, pandan parfait spiced berry jelly and coconut cream.
We caught up with the smiling winner as he cleaned his kitchen ...
How are you feeling?
Fantastic. It went well, very well. The team did a great job, they supported me a lot, so it was good.
Did you expect to win?
I knew we had a good shot. We put a lot of effort into it and the guys did an excellent job.
You knew what your menu was, but you didn’t know what your rivals’ menus were.
I had no idea. A couple of the guys’ menus were very good. A lot of molecular gastronomy going on. The other chefs were very passionate, pouring their hearts and souls into their menus, so it could have gone any way.
It was a close one ...
I made up my mind that it was probably between myself and Eddie (Al Qasr Chef de Cuisine Edward Mair). I was hoping it would swing our way and it did.
What won it for you?
Just the fact that we kept it simple. We didn’t want to do too much. Good flavours, good food is what people are looking for, so that’s what we gave them.
Did everything go to plan?
Starters went very well, soup went very well, main course got a bit dodgy because all our fryers broke down, so we were a bit delayed and it got a bit dicey, but the boys kept their composure and we got the desserts out before anybody else, so they did well.
Most importantly, did you enjoy it?
Yes it was fun. Stressful, but fun.
Of course. We are on our way there now. We are going to BarZar.
To see what Wesley serves his guests, click here.