Michael Cheng won the top prize at the Western Cuisine Professional Lamb Loin category at the Hong Kong International Culinary Classic 2013 (Hofex edition) in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
The 28-year old’s winning dish in the region’s leading food and hospitality trade show was Pistachio Pesto Cap Sous-Vide Lamb Medallion, Rioja-Glace de Viande, Lemon Chantilly, Caramelized Butternut Squash Ravioli, Cherry Tomato and Lima Bean Confit, Champignon and Pearl Onion Preserved.
Cheng also surprised the judges with the many cooking techniques he employed in a single dish—sous vide, confit, grilled, pan-seared, sautéed, preserved, reduced and blanched.
This got the approval of the judges, who awarded him the gold.
“I jumped for joy when I saw the gold card beside my display plate,” said the ecstatic Cheng, who started practicing for the competition in February. This was his first time to win in an international competition. In Manila, he won silver for his Modern Pinoy dish at Kumbira 2011.
This was also the first for CCA-Manila to win gold in a foreign culinary tilt.
Cheng bested other entries from Taiwan, Mongolia and Canada.
Entries were judged according to correct professional presentation, arrangement, taste, mise-en-place and cleanliness. The competitors were to prepare three portions of one-plated main course within 60 minutes. Each was given a 500-g lamb loin fillet as the main ingredient. The accompaniments and garnishes to complement the dish were the competitor’s choice.
The taste was the crucial criterion. It must have appropriate seasoning. In quality, flavor and color, the dish must conform to today’s standards of nutritional values.