Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs - Emily Laubsch
Adelaide, November 27, 2015
A message of appreciation by Australia's competitor

Managing Editor’s note: Emily presented this message of appreciation at the Bailliage of South Australia Christmas Dinner held on November 27, 2015, at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant, Adelaide.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen

My name is Emily and I’m currently the pastry chef at Hentley Farm in the Barossa Valley. I would like to take you all back to the beginning of my Chaîne journey.

Earlier this year I was given the opportunity to enter the Bailliage of South Australia’s Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition at Regency Park. To be honest, at the time, I’d never heard of the Chaîne but I’d always wanted to enter a competition so I decided to give it a go. I figured I had nothing to lose.

I’m sure most of you know the structure of the competition but for those of you who don’t, competitors are required to create a 3-course meal in 4 hours for 4 people using a “black box” of ingredients which are kept secret until the commencement of the competition.

Not really knowing what I was in for I prepared myself as well as possible before competing mid-April 2015. I was up against some great chefs from South Australia however I did my best and managed to come out on top and bring home a win. I was so surprised! I couldn’t believe I actually won although I was very proud of myself and appreciative of the accolade.

After realization set in that this was just the beginning, I now had to prepare myself for my next challenge – the Bailliage of Australia national final. May 30, 2015, was the big day. Winners from their respective states met in Sydney to compete at Le Cordon Bleu in North Ryde.

I was extremely nervous and knew I was going to be challenged but I kept composed and gave it my best shot. After the cooking I remembered being quite disappointed with myself, I felt I could have done much better and I was so glad it was over.

However, once again I seemed to have wowed the judges enough to win. I was shocked! I never thought I stood a chance whatsoever. I really couldn’t believe it. This experience was no doubt my career highlight to date and a day I’ll never forget.

I now had the weight of Australia on my shoulders and had to prove myself at the international final held in Budapest on September 11, 2015.

Twenty-two very anxious young chefs from around the world met up and prior to the competition we participated in a few days of sightseeing throughout the city as well as other various group activities that were organized for us before the big day.

The day rolled around very quickly and after a bright and early start, a strict examination of the uniform, a tool check and an intense briefing session we began. My first glimpse of the mystery box certainly overwhelmed me; I’d never seen or dealt with a sturgeon fish before, let alone foie gras. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

But once again, I did my best. The challenge of a foreign kitchen, foreign ingredients and immense pressure definitely got the better of me and hindered my ability to perform to my full potential. Unfortunately, this time round I didn’t get placed. Disappointed in myself I knew I could have done so much better but the place winners definitely deserved their positions.

I’m so grateful of the experience and the opportunities the Chaîne gave to me. Not many chefs could say they’ve done what I’ve done. The journey was stressful but very rewarding, I’ve met some amazing people along the way, and I can’t thank the Chaîne team enough for supporting me and helping me achieve all that I have this year.

Thank you.

Emily Laubsch