I know most of my family and friends already know this, but I thought I’d post an update for those who don’t. I’ve also included a little bit about my experience, so read on. Oh and before you get too excited, I wasn’t second, there were a few gold medals a few silver and a few bronze, a bit more on the judging system later.
I was up since 4:30 AM that morning, the nerves had gotten the better of me and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I eventually got out of bad, got all my stuff together in a mad dash and headed to Southbank. I was given a tag and sent to the kitchen, where I met some of the other participants who were all lovely. I was third up so I eagerly awaited my chance to set up my table.
My presentation table
The judge’s feedback was extremely good, Peter and Dilhan exclaiming that my macorons combined with my cinnamon tea took them back to their childhood. Bernd, who said he has become so sick of macarons, was also very complimentary, stating he was glad I didn’t colour them, and kept them natural and did something completely different and unique with them. Peter and Dilhan were also excited at my efforts at speaking Sinhalese. “Ayubowan”, a Sri Lankan greeting, for which I have the parents of Maryam’s Kitchen to thank.
Totally getting my hands into it whilst presenting to the judges
But those good compliments were met with some negatives. I honestly didn’t realise the judges would have such high expectations, their attention to detail was second to none and they wanted to have a complete high tea experience, which I don’t believe I delivered. In my nerves there were a few things I neglected, I didn’t fill the sugar bowl, I didn’t give them milk (I had planned on serving black tea though) and they also wanted honey as an option, Dilhan also commented that I didn’t brew the tea long enough (even though when they were ready to move on to the next table, he stayed to finish that last sip).
Here’s a little information about the judging standards from Dilmah, “The Real High Tea Challenge is endorsed by the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS), whose judging criteria was the basis of assessment of entries. Each contestant was evaluated on the quality of presentation of their entries, the respect accorded to the central ingredient – tea – in food and food pairing, the preparation of tea, their menu, the use of local ingredients and the contestants’ knowledge and rationale. Consumer entries were evaluated on similar but less rigorous standards than Professional Entries.
Contestants received points for their submissions with the possibility of several Gold, Silver or bronze medals being awarded in each state.”… “Points required to secure a Gold medal are 90-99, Silver 80-89, Bronze 70-79 and Certificate 60-69.” Taken from Dilmah, Real High Tea. Clearly I fell into the 80-89 point category 🙂
with Judges Bernd Uber, Dilhan Fernando and Peter Kuruvita
After my judging was complete, I went to the balcony where a photographer was waiting to take pictures of my macarons. Now let me tell you, this isn’t any photographer, this is the photographer that took the pictures for Adriano Zumbo’s next macaron book (Zumborons)!! I guess that totally qualifies my macarons into celebrity status 😛
with Peter Kuruvita, Dilhan Fernando,
Merrill J Fernando (Dilmah Founder) and Bernd Uber
It was a wonderful experience and I think the thing that will stay with me was Dilhan saying, “Come back next year and knock our socks off!”
Thanks again to everyone for their support and encouragement! Thanks to the judges who were so wonderful. And a special big Thank you to Abdullah Osman (my husband), although neither of us planned for him to be at the awards ceremony, the way things worked out that day, he was and he couldn’t have been more happy or excited for me (kinda wrote about it here), even planning on me entering next year. Dilmah challenge 2013, here I come!