Baking professionals had the chance to take part in the Dilmah Real High Challenge – a competition where tea is incorporated into an array of cakes and pastries.
The Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge 2013 produced a tie in the professional category with gold medallists Althea Eley and Felicity Goodchild (Shangri-La Hotel Sydney) and Revecca Fujiwara and Natalie Noriega (Stamford Plaza Brisbane) selected joint winners.
The two winners presented contrasting themes, expressing the potential of a inspired, contemporary high tea, to adapt to different cultural, culinary, thematic and hospitality styles.
A contemporary and understated entry from the Shangri-La Sydney and a modern Japanese High Tea from Stamford Plaza Brisbane were judged equally deserving winners by presiding and culinary judge Bernd Uber, mixology judge Robert Schinkel and tea judge Dilhan C. Fernando.
Both teams will travel to Sri Lanka to learn about the key ingredient at the Dilmah School of Tea in Sri Lanka. The pair will also be among the finalists of the Dilmah Real High Tea Global Challenge in 2014.
Runners up Melanie Day and Ashley Hindmarsh from Pullman Cairns International presented an entirely different perspective, emphasising sustainable, local ingredients from the Atherton Tablelands. The pair secured their position with their simple and fresh approach to the occasion, with very effective tea pairing and the use of tea as an ingredient.
Revecca, a student at Southbank Institute of Technology (SBIT) in Queensland, said she was thrilled to be a gold winner.
“Gold means a lot. I thought these competitions were more for experienced professionals, however my bosses were very supportive and told me I needed to be confident and have faith in myself,” she said.
The Japanese born and raised student came to Australia when she was 11 and drew upon her heritage to combine unique flavours.
Items in Revecca’s Japanese inspired high tea included a berry sensation tea mocktail, green tea and jasmine flower cured salmon and avocado sushi sandwich served with green tea with jasmine flowers and a kohaku (earl grey roulade with lemon cream) with Ran Watte.
But a Fuji cake, a tasty layer of green tea darquoise with Japanese sake mousse topped with framboise jelly was perhaps the most significant item to Revecca.
“It resembles Mt Fuji and was a dedication to both my grandmother and my great grandfather,” Revecca explained.
SBIT’s College of Tourism and Hospitality (COTAH) patisserie teacher Patrick Dennis said it was fantastic to see Revecca win the prestigious high tea competition.
“Not only does she work at a leading hotel, she now has a prestigious award under her belt and the opportunity to test her skills in an international competition,” Patrick said.
“The hospitality team is very proud of Revecca and will be watching her closely in the Dilmah Real High Tea Global Challenge 2014.”