Reefs Hotel chef is the rising star of 2014
Kenyan chef David Ndungi, from The Reefs Hotel, was last night named Bermuda’s Rising Chef of the Year 2014.
The 31-year-old chef de partie beat out tough competition from three other culinary professionals with his melange of chicken dish.
He won an all-expenses-paid trip to a New York butcher’s, a crystal decanter, wines and a $350 gift certificate from International Imports.
Mr Ndungi said he was ecstatic after the win.
“It feels like I just walked into a casino and won the jackpot, so I’m very happy about it.”
From day one of the competition, Mr Ndungi was certain he would come out on top.
He said: “I was confident with what I was going to do and took advantage of the fact that many of the competitors had parts of their dishes prepared in advance. I came up with a menu that would take me 25 minutes, but that I could create it all from scratch.
“And that’s what a chef is supposed to do.
“It was a gamble, but it paid off.”
His dish included a thick and savoury herb and Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast, paired with Bitter Melon and Chicken Ragout.
To that he added a perfectly creamy skillet Scalloped Fingerling Potatoes, along with a Shitake Mushroom Sauce.
Jaelen Steede, 19, won last night’s prize for audience favourite with his chicken prepared three ways.
He was not only the sole Bermudian chef to take part in this year’s finals, he was also the youngest participant.
The Rising Chef of the Year Competition is an annual event hosted by Bermuda Hospitality Institute.
It aims to showcase the skills and talents of chefs from across the Island. During the finale chefs were challenged to utilise four main ingredients in their meal: whole chicken, Wadson’s Farm Fingerling Potatoes, Bitter Melon and Local Herbs.
The second place winner was Chef Ruban Santhakumar, from Grotto Bay Resort, while tied for third place were Fairmont Southampton chefs Mr Steede and Canadian Hans Jacobsen.
Host Teneika Eve, a senior culinary instructor at Bermuda College, said she enjoyed watching the camaraderie of the evening and the unity in the space at International Imports.
“Food transcends boundaries like race creed and religious beliefs and brings unity,” she said.
“If you looked around the space tonight you’d see people from all walks of life interacting and enjoying themselves. It was beautiful to see.”
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