Box Hill Institute culinary student, Emma Cook has placed in the top ten of the international Young Chef Olympiad 2017, held in India. Representing Australia and Box Hill Institute, Emma worked under enormous pressure, competing in four different Indian cities against 44 other nations and, for the final round, preparing 20 dishes in two hours.
As her name might suggest, Emma Cook has always wanted to be a chef and she is a particularly talented culinary student. The Young Chef Olympiad 2017 is not her first competition. Last year, Emma and her teammate, Tan Dang, achieved silver in the 2016 Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat Award cook-off challenge, Australia’s longest running culinary competition. Emma also participated in the WorldSkills National competition 2016, secured a special recognition prize and certificate as one of the national finalists of Les Toques Blanches Award For Excellence competition, and she competed in the Chain Des Rotisseurs.
Of the pressure in competition, Emma said, “Sometimes it’s really stressful and I doubt myself. I feel like I want to give up and I find every reason why I should give up but I don’t and it makes me stronger in my commitment to myself to become a better chef. After the competition, I look back at what went wrong under pressure and I learn lots from my mistakes.”
Emma is currently studying Certificate III in Commercial Cookery. She has wanted to be a chef since she was 10. She said, “When I was really young I started to help my dad out in the kitchen and then I started working at my Uncle’s catering company. I worked with an awesome lady, Chef Jess and I just fell in love with how she would make food a story, I saw the way she moved and how passionate she was and I thought that was me. I needed to do it.”
Competing in the Young Chef Olympiad is just one way in which Emma is starting to achieve her dreams. She said, “I have goals of where I want to go. I want to travel, see the world, work in many different kitchens with talented chefs, experience different types of cultures and food. Along the way, my own skills will grow. I will never stop learning about food.
“I feel honoured that Box Hill chose me for the Young Chef Olympiad. When Chef (Damon Shrivastav, Box Hill Institute teacher) told me about it I was like, wow, that is amazing,” she said.
Of her experience studying with Box Hill Institute, Emma said, “I have the best chef and teachers. If you put in 100%, they will give you 100%. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I love going to school.”
This is unlikely to be the last we hear of Emma Cook’s great achievements.