This year’s Tourism Kangaroo Island Signature Dish competition winner plans to “live it up” for two days at Southern Ocean Lodge as part of his prize, even though he works there as a chef.
Adrian Walker started at Southern Ocean Lodge as an apprentice chef nearly five years ago.
He won the competition at the KI FEASTival Tasting Kangaroo Island at the Wharf event on Sunday with a dish of Southrock Lamb belly, using KI lentils, potatoes and a range of wild herbs and spices.
The competition was judged by chefs Maggie Beer, Andrew Fielke and Manuella Darling-Gansser who awarded it to Mr Walker, 26, “by a whisker” from his fellow Southern Ocean Lodge chef Louis Lark.
Mr Walker was working at SOL yesterday and said he intended to take his prize. “All my family has stayed in-house but I haven’t so I’m going to live it up for a couple of days.”
Next week Mr Walker will find out if he is a national finalist in the Australian Young Chef of the Year, for which he had to design a winter menu and write 1000 words.
Judge Maggie Beer said it was noteworthy that contestants had only a barbecue and a single gas ring to prepare their dishes. “That adds another dimension to the competition,” she said.
Mr Lark prepared a seafood bouillabaisse and the third contestant Bridgette Bruce, of Mercure KI Lodge, produced a Tranche d’Agneau Pascal, based on Southrock Lamb.
The recipes contained a significant amount of local produce ranging from island seafood, lamb, sheep milk cheeses and yoghurt, olive oil, local spirits, wine and strawberry balsamic vinegar to an impressive selection of local herbs and vegetables including KI capers, potatoes, wild rosemary, wild fennel seeds, KI garlic and local lettuce.
First prize also includes exposure for the chef in Sumptuous magazine and a $500 activity voucher from KI Outdoor Action.
Tourism Kangaroo Island chairman Pierre Gregor said TKI was delighted to host and sponsor the Signature Dish competition during the last two years and looks forward to annual winners competing against each other in the ultimate cook-off in 2016.
Details of the winning recipe will be posted at www.tourkangarooisland.com.au – stay tuned!