SINGAPORE - A sumptuous spread of minced chilli crab wrapped in crispy popiah skin, youtiao stuffed with pesto cheese and rocket, wagyu beef on a mantou base and truffle mustard sauce, vol-au-vent with Korean sesame chicken, and fatty tuna with yuzu juice emerged as the winning dishes in Republic Polytechnic's iChef Challenge 2016.
The gourmet canapes were whipped up in just two hours, by three 14-year-olds from Junyuan Secondary School.
Team TAG, consisting of Secondary 3 students Tara Laxmi Prasob, Amirah Sabrina Fathurrahman and Geraldine Kang Him Hong, took home Cold Storage vouchers worth $2,000, in addition to a trophy and certificates.
The team had planned in advance what they wanted to create, and devoted their time practising after the mid-year examinations. All three said they want to be chefs.
Said Taya: "We definitely picked up a lot of new skills, like menu-making and bread-making."
The iChef Challenge was launched in 2011 to promote students' interest in the food industry and uncork their potential for creativity in cooking.
Ten teams took part from schools such as Kent Ridge Secondary, St. Patrick's and Orchid Park Secondary. The canapes had to have the theme of East Meets West, and an added component this year had teams making a table display to showcase the food.
Speaking at the event, Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Trade and Industry, said the challenge provided a platform for exploring Singapore's multicultural heritage.
Touching on dreams and passions, she said: "It's important to find what motivates us... More often than not, passion will be like the fuel to give you energy to go the extra mile."
One of the judges, Chef Angela May, founder of Angela May Food Chapters, said of the winners: "They were daring and combined ingredients you don't usually put together."