Thammasat student won 3 awards from the “Gourmet & Cuisine Young Chef 2023” contest

Trinyada Saeng-on, 2nd year student in Food Science and Innovation, Faculty of Science and Technology, Thammasat University won 3 awards: the 1st runner up, a special award in healthy dish category, and a special award in dessert dish with the Appetizer: Special Yamamori Cured Tuna, Yolks and Caviar, the Main course: Salmon Confit with Paella, and the Dessert: Tom Kha Cream-O Truffle from “Gourmet & Cuisine Young Chef 2023”, a cooking contest for students in higher education organized by Gourmet & Cuisine magazine.

Inspiration behind the Creation of the Menus

The main inspiration behind the design and creation of the three dishes is to prove that ‘Food is a borderless territory’ under the Fusion Borderless Concept.

The appetizer is a tartare dish that originated in Mongolia, a landlocked country with os adapted into a Japanese style menu, which is a country of islands by extracting the specialties from soy sauce, mirin and ponzu to curing fish meat, which is a lean, easily digestible protein. According to the principle of an appetizer, it should have a strong flavor to stimulate stomach function. In addition, eating protein first is an eating order that helps reduce the level of insulin stimulation in the meal.

The main course is an East meets West style menu inspired by the fusion of the East and the West cultures. It is salmon confit in oil that contains omega 3, maintaining good fatty acids and protein in salmon served with brown rice cooked using the method of ‘paella’ or Spanish over-baked rice with added vitamins from vegetables mixed with intense tomato flavor, chorizo, paprika and Spanish spices that are cooked according to the recipe to make the rice absorbed a perfect balance of spicy flavor from natural ingredients with an emphasis on mellowness. Such intense flavor is toned down with sweetness of honey dill sauce added with a touch of sour taste from apple cider, which helps to reduce blood sugar levels and add texture with fiber from dills.

And to prove that food is truly borderless. It’s not just a matter of nationality, but it can also cross the boundary between savory and sweet dishes. Therefore, it came out as ‘Tom-Kha Cream-O Truffle’, a dessert menu which adapts the Thai Tom Kha Curry into a sweet dish. The aroma of ginger, galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves is unique to the dish with the use of Cream-O, which is a ready-made snack to create the main component of the dish, extending the innovation into a superior dessert plate. It also visualizes the shape of truffles instead of the usual Tom Kha with mushrooms.

Out of the 3 menus, which menu do you like the most?

I personally like the dessert dish the most. In addition to being the most outstanding dessert dish award, It is also a menu that has been invented by myself and has never been made before. I adopted the Thai savory cooking culture to create innovations in a dessert dish which, when combined with the use of raw ingredients for making Thai dishes such as ginger, galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and western ingredients together, the taste and smell came out incredibly well. Therefore, it is a dish that boldly demonstrates the ability of food innovation.

What was the pressure during the competition?

There’s pressure on almost everything, from the time to teammates, however we decided to go on with the contest, controlling our consciousness, concentrating so much that it pushed us to the point where there was nothing in our head. Even standing and reading the prepared work flow didn’t help our hearts to calm down at all. Some problems never occurred during the practices yet occurred in the actual contest. It took some time for us to get used to the venue, the walking position within the cooking station or applicable equipment. All of which was nothing like the practices, even the electric stoves, they were not heated to the same standard. At that point, what happened was the intuition that we accumulated from all the training, together with experience from repeated practices, the understanding of processes and raw ingredients to the point where the willpower arises, making us to concentrate better, waking ourselves up and finally breaking through all the pressure.

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