Cheesecake queen takes cooking throne

Ballito resident Ryleigh Rutherford creating her mystery dish. Pihoto Sophie Thompson

An aspiring young chef from Ballito wowed the judges with her flawless cheesecake and won the recently held KZN finals of the SPAR Junior Cook competition at Gecko Culinary Adventures, Durban.

Six mini chefs took to their state-of-the-art cooking stations and let their creative culinary juices flow, but it was senior-primary pupil Ryleigh Rutherford from Ballito who stole the show.

The annual cook-off involved the youngsters preparing a recipe that they had submitted as their competition entry, as well as a mystery dish – a ginger bread family – that was given to them following the completion of the first dish.

One of the judges, SPAR advertising and promotions manager Nelene Rampersad, who was instrumental in conceptualizing the competition in an effort to encourage young chefs, said she loved the range of dishes made this year.

“The variety of dishes made judging difficult, and our taste-buds were put to the test, but after much deliberation, Ryleigh’s cheesecake came out tops.

“It was faultless – a great presentation, and top-class texture and flavour.

“Her gingerbread man was done to perfection with a crisp texture and some fun, iced decorations. Well done to all for the good food, great spirit and enthusiasm,” said Rampersad.

Ryleigh won a R5,000 shopping voucher for her first place position with runner up Tiana Gangaram receiving a R2,000 shopping voucher and all four remaining finalists each receiving a R500 SPAR
shopping voucher.

All finalists received a SPAR sweet hamper and a hamper packed with baking utensils to further their culinary aspirations. Ryleigh said the whole experience was really fun.

“I enjoyed making my cheesecake here today. It was so exciting to work in a professional kitchen,” said Ryleigh, who has always helped her mum in the kitchen ever since she can remember.

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The North Coast Courier

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