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Deniliquin RSL chefs receive Chef's Table accolade

Deniliquin RSL apprentice chefs Karma Newman and Meleny Freimuth were thrilled with a highly commended award for the prestigeous ClubsNSW Chef's Table culinary competition. It demonstrates they are the fourth best ClubsNSW restaurant from 2000 entrants.

ZOE MCMAUGH June 5, 2012 4:54am

Meleny Freimuth, Erick Berges and Karma Newman with their Chef’s Table award on Friday night.

A Chef’s Table award was created just for Deniliquin apprentice chefs Karma Newman and Meleny Freimuth at the ClubsNSW Awards for Excellence on Friday night.

The RSL chefs were given a highly commended, which places them fourth in the state for the competition.

Based on points alone, the Deniliquin RSL came in equal third alongside eventual bronze award winners, Sydney’s Canterbury League Club.

Deniliquin just missed out on a countback, according to ClubsNSW chairman of judges Julio Azzarello, with only 1 points separating first and fourth.

Chefs from Sydney’s City Tattersalls Club took out first place with Tweed Heads Bowls Club runners-up.

This is the first time the Deniliquin RSL has entered the Chef’s Table competition, and it did so under the guidance and insistence of head chef Erick Berges.

Karma and Meleny are now considering entering again, especially after extra encouragement from Mr Azzarello.

Meleny said the judge told the girls they ‘‘must’’ re-enter the competition in 2013 while at the gala awards ceremony in Sydney on Friday night.

In presenting the awards on Friday night, Mr Azzarello said he was very impressed with the club’s apprentices, as well as the friendliness of the area.

‘‘Here we are driving a long drive to Deniliquin with the surrounding towns under flood,’’ he said on Friday.

‘‘When we arrived at the town we were welcomed into the club, but the girls in the kitchen were all business. They were there to win.’’

Mr Azzarello said Karma, a second-year apprentice, and Meleny, a first-year apprentice, were up against executive chefs and established chefs and showed enormous potential. He said the Deniliquin RSL was ‘‘a club to look out for’’.

Mr Berges was equally thrilled with the efforts put in by Karma and Meleny.

‘‘The girls worked tirelessly for these awards, coming in to work at 6am for several weeks straight just to get all the ingredients and presentation right for the dishes. They did a wonderful job and I’m extremely proud of both of them.’’

Deniliquin RSL Club CEO Luke Stephenson said the Chef’s Table award was one of the highest of the industry, and Deniliquin’s result was fantastic.

‘‘Considering it was Deni’s first attempt at entering the awards, and the high level of competition which the club was up against, this is an absolute honour,’’ he said.

A highlight of the apprentice chef’s three-course meal was the use of the compulsory ingredient, avocado, in the dessert. The pork belly entree and duck main meal were complemented by blancmange of avocado, served with double cream and mango gelee, lemon curd and chocolate ganache, shortbread pastry and raspberry sauce.

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