Cook your way to Paris!
If you've ever wanted to be a star chef, or even just wished you could cook a signature dish that didn't have your family phoning for pizza, read on.
To celebrate its 150thanniversary this year, Towngas is hosting the Towngas Young Master Chef contest this summer.
The cooking challenge is open to full-time students aged 15 to 20. The 24 most promising entrants - individuals or two-member teams - will attend up to six intensive lessons, led by renowned Hong Kong chefs.
Each week, entrants will master as many techniques as possible. At the end of each class, they will take part in a cook-off, and showcase all the skills they have learned.
Elimination is cruel, but inevitable. After the first week's 'Cooking 101', during which all entrants have immunity, a number of entrants will be eliminated each week starting from the second lesson. At the end of the six lessons, the top 12 entrants will compete in the semi-final, and the six best entrants will enter the final.
The adrenaline rush and heart-pounding will pay off for the winners - the top three teams will each win cooking classes in prestigious locations, either in Hong Kong or abroad.
Catherine Wong, Senior Retail Marketing Manager of Hong Kong & China Gas Company Limited, says this is the first time such a contest, one exclusive to young people, has been held in Hong Kong.
'We've put a lot into this,' she says. 'There'll be many star chefs and heavyweight judges giving contestants advice.'
The prizes are also incredibly attractive. The champions will win a trip to France and attend cooking classes at the first-class culinary institute, Le Cordon Bleu, in Paris. The first runners-up will win a cooking trip to Beijing, and the second runners-up will attend a cooking course at the local Michelin-starred restaurant Cuisine Cuisine.
'I strongly encourage students to enter this competition,' Catherine says.
She started cooking when she was at university. 'I went to university overseas,' she says. 'When you're living on your own, you have to cook for yourself.'
Since then, her passion for cooking has soared. In 2007, she won Towngas' first-ever staff cooking competition. Recently, she has spent a lot of time studying nutritional values for her recently born daughter. This summer, she will supervise the Towngas Young Master Chef contest.
'Other than cooking techniques, the competition will cultivate students' creativity, patience, communications and organisation skills,' she adds.
Catherine says when she first watched Junior Masterchef Australia, the contestants startled her with their confidence and presentation skills. She believes that's what the contestants will take away from Towngas Young Master Chef, too.
The competition will provide a platform for young food enthusiasts to meet and exchange ideas. Contestants will also come face-to-face with veteran chefs, who have been working in the industry for years. 'It'll be a great chance of exposure,' Catherine says.
As if you needed more motivation to take part in this amazing competition, Young Post will run an exclusive page of kitchen tips, provided by Towngas star chefs, every Friday until June 8.
For registration details, stay tuned to www.yp.scmp.com and Young Post's Facebook page