A penchant for making and eating cakes – and an addiction to entering competitions – saw Raglan 21-year-old Ayeesha Geros make the last eight of a nationwide Ceres Organic Cook-off this month and compete in the final at the swanky Auckland Seafood School kitchens.
It wasn’t quite Masterchef, she laughingly admits, but the competition was good fun and a welcome distraction from boredom between jobs.
Ayeesha, who’s often done stints in the kitchen at Orca Restaurant & Bar, was stranded in Queenstown when she learned of the contest so put her time to good use dreaming up a beetroot-glazed Ceres grain cake recipe and uploading it online.
After her cake was judged among the top 20 entries – for which she received a $250 hamper and a year’s subscription to Taste magazine – the competition went out to a public vote and Ayeesha madly Facebooked friends and family in Raglan and the Mount to get behind her creation.
Almost 700 votes later she was winging her way to the final cook-off at Auckland Seafood School in Westhaven, where a pantryful of healthy products and a demonstration by celebrity chefs Nadia Lim and Paul Jobin made it a “fun” competition.
“It was kind of like Masterchef but on a much smaller scale,” Ayeesha told the Chronicle. “I wasn’t that stressed … everyone was so nice and we got a lot of help.”
While Ayeesha’s quinoa-crusted fish on salsa didn’t win the mystery weekend getaway package, she was happy with the $300 deluxe blender she scored as a finalist and reckoned it was an improvement on the 127 cans of baked beans she won as a 13 year old.