The SciChef Cooking Challenge 2015, organised by the Faculty of Science of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the HKSAR Education Bureau, and Go.Asia (www.go.asia), ended with its final on May 9 (Saturday). After a preliminary round that took place in January 2015, 12 teams of finalists spent 60 intense minutes to compete for championship in the HK Electric Home Management Centre. Good Hope School took home the first prize and the Most Innovative Award with their dish “Amazing Dessert from Seaweed,” while Holy Trinity College’s “Chicken Breast Salad” garnered second place and the Best Participating School Award. The YWCA Hioe Tjo Yoeng College’s soufflé dish “Change of Protein Role” placed third.
A panel of renowned figures was invited to judge the Cooking Challenge. The four judges were Mr. Edmon CHUNG, CEO of DotAsia Organisation, Chef Anita Lam, Culinary Instructor at the HK Electric Home Management Centre, Professor Negendra P. Shan, Professor of Food Science and Technology at HKU, and Mr. Simon Wong Executive Director of LHGroup and Kabushikigaisha Limited. The Challengers from junior secondary schools were judged based on four criteria: recipe execution, sensory attributes, accuracy of scientific content, and Innovativeness. The winning duo, Fiona So Hoi Lam and Priscilla Yeung Wan Yan from Good Hope School received prizes including a trophy, medals, certificates, $300 dining coupons and $3,000 book coupons.
At the closing ceremony, HKSAR Secretary for Food and Health Dr. Ko Wing-man acknowledged the interlinked relationship between science and culinary art and shared his experience with molecular gastronomy. Dr. Ko also commended finalists for their efforts and thoughtful recipes that ranged from fruit juice caviar to traditional Chinese smiley balls (笑口棗). Apart from the cooking competition, the event featured a 3D latte art demonstration and workshop held by Chief Barista Leo Chau from Allegretto Viva Espresso and a live molecular gastronomy demonstration presented by Chef Perry Lau from Shui Yue. Both demonstrations showcased sensational culinary innovations that were made possible by incorporating scientific concepts into cooking.
The SciChef Cooking Challenge is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. It aims to foster food science, chemistry and nutrition knowledge to junior secondary school students, and arouse their interest towards science and healthy eating habits. It provides students with opportunities to have hands-on food experiments and analysis outside the classroom.