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Local students to represent the region in a Master Chef style challenge

By Morgan Dyer

Two Notre Dame College students will represent the Greater Shepparton region in the Murray River Culinary Challenge grand final.

Jenna Carter and Cara Leocata will travel to Wangaratta next month to take part in the challenge after going head-to-head with other Shepparton high school students at the Murray River Regional Culinary Challenge.

The competition gives students studying hospitality the chance to get a taste for the industry, while creating industry contacts.

Notre Dame hospitality teacher Karen Norton said the students had been working extremely hard and were using their the own time and lunch breaks to practice.

‘‘The challenge opens up avenues of training and skills that wouldn’t have usually explored in a classroom situation,’’ she said.

‘‘I think it teaches students to perform under pressure and it also gives them an indication of work place situations in the industry.’’

The students race against the clock to cook and prepare an entree, main and dessert for the four judges.

The judges, who work in the hospitality industry, score the students on the taste, presentation, and efficiency of each dish.

Although the students know the dishes they need to cook, they still face uncontrollable environmental challenges on the day, including different utensils and oven temperatures.

Miss Leocata said she was surprised she got through the school finals, let alone qualifying for the grand final.

‘‘We have been working really hard and we are now really trying to fine tune all our dishes,’’ she said.

The students will compete against the highest-scoring students from the Campaspe, Swan Hill and Wangaratta district finals.

Notre Dame won the challenge in 2017 and the school was hoping the students could win back the the trophy for the Shepparton region.

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