Keyword suggestions: Minh Long Contest Golden Spoon Awards
The Golden Spoon 2016 Final-eve:

Excited yet nervous with the black box

Friday, 12/02/2016 06:24
Top 15 strongest teams of The Golden Spoon 2016 from all over the country have been waiting to meet at the most important and the tensest final round with the noble championship and 1 billion VND award.

Kim Do hotel’s chefs were excited yet nervous with the black box challenge in The Golden Spoon final round 2015.

It is a big award but the challenge is not a piece of cake, in which the black box - secret ingredients container – is the most curious gate with all competitors. Totally different from the last two rounds, in the final round candidates cannot bring any processed stuff besides specialized tools, such as knives, cutting boards, ovens, and electronic equipment. All ingredients will be secretly picked and sealed in black boxes by the Organization. In the morning of final day, teams will ballot to get a random black box. Based on what ingredients are in the box, each team will have 1 hour to come up with a 4-course menu and hand it to the Organization.

During 1 hour of brainstorming, there will be a farm market held near by. The idea is an illustrative countryside with cornfields and all fresh products so that chefs can pick what they need. The next 90 minutes will be preparing time for food and displaying table and the official timing is 140 minutes. Therefore, the final round will take a whole day.

The Golden Spoon farm market.

Being totally passive so that all chefs have been nervous even though they all excellently passed the last two rounds. Chef Nguyen Huynh Dang Tuyen (Thanh Phat restaurant – Dak Lak province), who won Promising Young Chef 2014 and has participated in the final round 3 times, shows his concerns, “This year, all the top teams seems even, more professional, and the contest itself has many new things. The black boxes are different every year so I have no idea what’s next.”

Chef Dang Tuyen said, “My team has prepared kinda’ enough ideas for the final round’s menu but it’s still very risky since we don’t know what we’ll pick.” He also shared his experiences from last seasons, “When you receive the black box, open it and quickly come up with the potentially best solution for the menu.” The Middle Highlands team will try their best in the final round, “I hope we’ll get over ourselves by staying cool-head after receiving the black box.”

Three members of team Palm Garden Beach Resort & Spa (Hoi An) nervously opened the black box in The Golden Spoon final round 2015.

Being so nervous since this is the first time in the final round, chef Nguyen Duc Hoang (79 Gia Bao restaurant – Kon Tum province) said, “I’m very anxious. I know neither how the contest takes place nor what ingredients are in the black box. We’re kinda’ afraid of devilfish ‘cause the whole team has no clue about it.” However, chef Duc Hoang’s team has strength of spices, they just hope their ingredients are not too hard to handle. All teams in the final round have their own advantages so that Kon Tum chefs are confident to “think big and try hard because my team is longing for the championship and the award.”

In the similar case as Kon Tum team, chef Tran Quoc Tri (Thang Loi restaurant & wedding center – An Giang province) said, “We haven’t prepared anything. It all depends on the black box.” The biggest concern of chef Quoc Tri in this round beside tough competitors is the self. “We really worry that we’ll pick something not our forte, for examples are lobsters or lamps. We never have done those food before and we don’t have chances to try.” His whole team is equipped themselves by researching on the Internet about those exotic ingredients. Nonetheless, their skills and knowledge of traditional dishes, especially cooking rustic dishes by modern styles, are enough to encourage them to eagerly experience the final round.

Sofitel Plaza Hanoi team opened the black box.

From another southwestern team, chef Hong Trang (Nhi restaurant – Can Tho province) has nervously thought of the black box. Besides secret ingredients, this female chef also worries about related spices. Since one of the contest’s topics is about the journey of spices, definitely the black boxes contain regional spices to challenge its candidates. Meanwhile, chef Tran Huy Cuong (Indochine Palace Hue – Hue city) pays more attention to the timing of the final round. He said that the timing would be extremely pressured because all dishes were not prepare-able. Right in celebration night after the northern semi-final round had ended, this Hue chef admitted that he had been so anxious because this was his first time being in this contest - but his team would try their best.

Other teams from Lao Cai, Ha Noi, Hue, Da Nang, Quang Ngai, Ninh Thuan, Vung Tau, Ho Chi Minh city, and Kien Giang have their own concerns, too. However, they also understand that this is a great chance to compete, to learn, and to challenge their skills so that all are ready to face new obstacles in the final round. Chef Quoc Hoang (Naman Retreat Resort – Da Nang city) shared his thoughts, “I just think it’s a gift box for us to perform our skills.” Da Nang’s representative has thought of The Golden Spoon contest as a playground for them to meet and learn from each other, to introduce featured dishes. “In the last 2 rounds, we prepared menus to perform all what we have and what we’ve learned. We love to be good today and better tomorrow”, he said.

Another reason to expect in the final round is that the Organization has been significantly supported all teams with 5-star whole kitchen systems and specialized tools. The farm market this year will be expanded and has abundant, diverse products, especially regional spices. All chefs need to do is to pick appropriate material for their menus. This farm market is only opened in certain time so that chefs need to be very careful with what they pick. If chosen material is not enough, they have to take it anyway; if chose material is too much, their points will be subtracted.

Chefs nervously opened the black box in The Golden Spoon final round 2015.

One more reason to get excited is about the jury of the final round. Besides domestic culinary experts and famous chefs, the jury this year includes “Chef of the century” Eckart Witzigmann. 3-star Michelin, “Chef of the Century” Eckart Witzigmann will have a friendly talk with all chefs after all. Mr. Eckart Witzigmann will share his own experiences about the tips to success and answer questions from The Golden Spoon candidates. The “Chef of the Century” has warned, “I’m not an easy judge!

How did the champions encode the black boxes?

Champion of The Golden Spoon 2015 – Vu Van Thanh:I was very curious of what ingredients were inside the box but I do not let myself be interfered. I focused on ideas and how to do the ideas with my to colleagues. We were well prepared so I could be confident saying that whatever ingredients were in the box, we could make beautiful and delicious dishes out of them. To win a place in the final round, all chefs have to be evenly skillful. We have to understand culinary information and traditional cuisine to win.

Champion of The Golden Spoon 2014 – Tran Thai Bao: “From the moment knowing that we would be in the final round to the real contest was only a month to prepare. We had to deal with potential theories. Once we got ingredients, the menu should be quickly set up with 4 dishes, which must be related to the main topic. We needed to use all feature spices and ingredients in the black box. About the topic, we could think about it during brainstorming. Less-processing-time dishes were preferred. Finally, pay attention to minor details, such as your uniforms or sanitary around your kitchen.

By Nguyen Trang – Thu Pham

Write Comment Send Comment
0 Comment

Hot restaurants

Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2018 Top 10 In 10 Dishes

Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2018 Top 10 In 10 Dishes

Enjoy this gallery with amazing dishes from the top 10 restaurants of Latin America's 50 Best 2018, with chef Tsumura's Maido at number 1 for the second year.


Superstar Pastry Chef's 'Food Porn' Has Instagram Drooling

Superstar Pastry Chef's 'Food Porn' Has Instagram Drooling

When Cedric Grolet takes out his pastry knife, millions of mouths water.

Cuisine & Nutrition

Sauces and Herbs to Die For

Sauces and Herbs to Die For

Vietnamese dipping sauce and a huge variety of fresh aromatic herbs are the soul of the country’s cuisine.

© 2014 / All rights & Copyrights reserved.

Golden Spoon Awards