Young Namibian chef Elizabeth Isai will tomorrow step into the kitchen to cook in the semi-finals of the Global Chef Challenge in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
She will be cooking against chefs from Egypt, South Africa, UAE and Qatar in the Hans Bueschkens Young Chef category for Africa and the Middle East.
Isai is no stranger to the kitchen nor to competitions, having won the NamChefs jnr Chef of the Year Competition in 2022, and representing Namibia at the Worldskills competition in Switzerland last year. She was on the team that cooked in the African Culinary Cup in Abu Dhabi in May 2022.
She has been preparing her competition menu daily for a month already because practice make perfect.
Isai told VIBEZ! she is well-prepared, and by the grace of God, she will win the competition with the skills and knowledge she has.
“I’m going to try my level best to win, but one thing I want to do is go and learn new skills and bring that back to my country and show what I have learned,” she enthused.
Asked what she will prepare for the judges, she said: “I will be cooking the following dish: Salmon Souffleed Halibut on blackberry beurre blanc accompanied by coppert cress mashed potatoes, mange tout, and a potato crisp. The main course will feature butter-roasted veal roulade in herb crust, a rich jus infused with thyme and served with a thick skirt steak with mushrooms a la crème. As sides, I will prepare a creamy vialone risotto, baby marrow puree, glazed carrot cubes, and a crispy touilles as garnish. For dessert, I will create a decadent chocolate tart, a mousse infused with English breakfast tea, served with lemon jelly and strawberry coulis. The dish will be beautifully presented with a sugar basket”.
“I’m really so excited,” Isai added.
She said cooking is all about having fun, and the trick is to never compare what you have prepared to what someone else has prepared because you might end up doubting yourself instead of having confidence in your cooking.
Her love for cooking was inspired by her stepdad, and she began to experiment with different ingredients and recipes.
She enrolled at the NUST Hotel School, where she honed her skills and learned the ins and outs of the culinary world. After graduating, she worked at various restaurants and hotels, gaining valuable experience and refining her craft.
The competition will conclude on Wednesday when the finalists will be announced. If she wins, she will be cooking against the rest of the world in Singapore in October 2024.