Asian Skill Competition (ASC) is an international competition with several categories of competitions in it that are held on an Asean scale. One of the categories of the race is Cooking. To advance to the ASC itself, participants must follow several stages of auditions at the provincial and national level until competitors are chosen to represent Indonesia and compete in Thailand in 2018.
Me (Hana Dessy Natalina) and my friend Evani represent Binus University to follow Selekda (seleksi daerah / provincial selection) at provincial level in DKI Jakarta. Before joining this competition, I have many things to consider that if I was chosen to be the competitor for ASC 2018, it is likely that I can not follow the internship program. Another thing that I also think, I also have to participate in the choir competition with PARAMABIRA ( Bina Nusantara student choir) in October, will I have enough time to practice preparing both competitions at once?
At first my parents did not allow me to participate in this race because of my health issues and my busy activities.
But after getting support from Chef Nurul, some seniors (Kak Astrid, Ci Mey & Ko Okta) and other friends “, I think there is nothing wrong with participating in this competition, this is just the area selection, I will not necessarily be going to national selection. The important thing is I can get new experience from this competition.
So I decided to persuade my parents to give me permission to join this competition and they allowed it
I started the preparation of the competition by deciding on the menu and starting the cooking practice accompanied by Chef Nurul. I only have 2 weeks to prepare all of them. Me, Chef Nurul and Evani spent our training in the kitchen for about 8-12 hours each time. Lots of new knowledge and advice I got from Chef Nurul, lecturers, and some of my seniors.
Area selection lasts for 4 days. On the first day we attended the opening ceremony and technical meeting at Pasar Rebo Training Center. I met with many competitors from various workplace and campus venues.
On the first day, me and other competitors were shocked by various changes. Our original competition schedule on the second day was an interview and written test for all competitors were changed. We were divided into 2 groups. One group will get a written test and interview in the second day and cooking test on the third day, but one group will cook on day 2 and will get a written test and interview on day 3.
Another change is that we are required to cook maincourse from chicken / beef. while in our early rule book it is told to cook combination between beef and chicken. What makes me even more surprised is the the decision of which competitor will cook chicken or meat will be decided by raffling
I got get to cook on the 2nd day with the main ingredients of beef. The other thing that worries me is that when the list of ingredients was given, many ingredients were changed from the ones previously notified which made me have to brainstorm to create a new menu from the ingredients.
We have to cook 3 types of dishes with 2 servings each. consisting of appetizer which is fresh hot pasta with at least 2 kinds of sauce; Main course with main ingredients of meat, 3 types of vegetables, 1 type of carbohydrate and 2 types of sauce; And dessert which is a combination of chocolate base product, pastry product, free dessert product and at least 1 kind of sauce. All dishes should be cooked only with the materials provided.
Me and some competitors who gets the test of cooking on the 2nd day is very stressful because the technical meeting took a long time and it’s already late. There will be no time to practice again to try to cook the new menu I made.
I called Chef Nurul to discuss this issue. After me and several other competitors surveyed the venue, Evani and I immediately returned to campus to discuss with Chef Nurul and prepare the equipment to be used for the competition. On my Way to Binus, I was very worried about what to do tomorrow during the cooking test. All I can think about is that I will fail because I have no preparation at all to cook a new menu while using limited ingredients. When I got to Binus I met Chef Nurul and Miss Rachel while discussing the menu changes, Chef Nurul and Miss Rachel cheered me up and my worries were lightened and I remembered my initial motivation for this competition is to gain experience, not to win. I tried to re-arrange the menus and prepare all the equipment for tomorrow.
I decided to cook Green Caramelle Pasta Stuffed with Sauté Pear Serve with Bisque, Garlic Butter Sauce, Caramelized Onion & Parsley Oil for appetizer; Braised Beef with Black Pepper Sauce and Mustard Sauce, Served with Sauté Spicy Rice Noodle and Sauté Mix Vegetable for maincourse; Pound Cake, Un-Bake Chocolate Cake and Crumble, Apple Fritter, Serve with Manggo Sauce and Strawberry Sauce for dessert
The next morning, Me and Evani departs from the campus to the competition venue. When we arrived, I was asked to mise en plase directly for 1 hour. During mise en plase, besides preparing the equipment I also checked the availability of materials and apparently there are some materials that are not available. Just before I started cooking, I made time to discuss with Chef Nurul. I also decided to change my appetizer which originally used bisque to Dragon Fruit Sauce and I immediately changed my recipe.
My worries re-emerged because I’m the only competitor who does not have a helper. Luckily, one of the helper from other competitors volunteered to help me. Finally the cooking test was started. 3 hours felt it went by very quickly. During the cooking I felt my movements were a bit slow, probably because I had not really mastered my new menu and many of the work plans I had made did not work because of the many changes. I leave everything to God, in my brain there is only one wish, “I do not want to provide empty plates to the jury”. I focus and start working quietly. 3 hours I managed to do well although there is still a lot of work that I have to finish before the given time ends in 1 hour.
The last 1 hour finally starts, I tried to finish all the elements of my cuisine that has not been completed. I was a little nervous when Chef Doni (one of the jurors) started going around and looking at my station. While plating, Chef Doni is very observant of me. Because of groggy I became panicked and my hands started shaking. Chef Doni supports me and finally I can finish all the dishes just in time. I was very happy to serve the food even though at first I was afraid of my worries destroying everything
On the third day, me and several other competitors took an interview and a written test. I did not have much trouble compared to the second day because of more time to prepare for the test. On this third day me and other competitors spend more time sharing our experiences in the field of Culinary
On the fourth day is the closing ceremony, me and other competitors gathered to hear the championship announcement. I did not expect to win at all. I am very proud because I can beat the fear that is in myself and I can achieve my initial goal to participate in this race which is to gain new experience. During the announcement of the championship I was very surprised because it turns out I won 2nd place on the area selection this time. This victory is just a bonus I got from the outcome of my struggle over my fear inside myself. I did not manage to qualify for national selection but I believe that God has other better plans for me. I will continue to learn to be a great chef.
I thank God that I am still given the opportunity to continue studying and I congratulate my best partner that is evani. I hope you will be successful in the national selection. I will always support you ^^
I have to thank Binus for the opportunity and trust given to me. I am also very grateful to the lecturers especially to Chef Nurul who have always accompanied me from the preparation until this competition.
Thanks also to family and friends who have supported me in this competition.
My experience of following area selection this time will never be forgotten by me. not only did I get knowledge, but I also got new friends who have the same passion with me which is cooking. I realize that I still have to improve myself and I still have a lot of time to learn
Hopefully my experience this time can be a motivation for all readers that no one is born into someone great, but someone can be great if they wants to try
-Hana Dessy Natalina-