• Tony Bosworth

Bilpin area master chefs rise to the occasion with first Cooks Cup awards

Every Thursday evening locals from the Bilpin district can rely on an inexpensive three-course home cooked meal at the Kurrajong Heights Bowling Club. And while it’s a relaxed dining experience, behind the scenes the battle is on.

Cooks Cup winner Matilda Julian with MP Susan Templeman

The meal is prepared each week by different local residents who are all in training to try out for TV show Master Chef, and the community are willing guinea pigs for recipes they are aiming to perfect.

And on Thursday evening the very first Cooks Cup was held at the Bowlo to acknowledge the efforts of those 27 community cooks and their contribution to improving the diets of Bilpin area residents, with the winner announced by MP Susan Templeman who has sponsored a perpetual trophy for the event.

There are only a handful of rules the community cooks must follow, but they are as vital as the ingredients that go into each meal.

· Cooks can't serve any processed food.

· All food must be fresh and grown in Bilpin or the Hawkesbury region.

· There must be minimal or no food wastage.

· The Bowling Club reimburses each cook the cost of any ingredient but not their preparation and cooking time.

· And if you cook you don’t have to wash up - but of course that doesn’t mean you leave the place in a mess…

Brother Tansen from Mountain Spring Monastery and Dharma Cloud Monastery accepts the Runner-up award from MP Susan Templeman

The Cooks Cup judges are three community members who have attended every Thursday dinner in 2020 and so have tasted every dish. Highlights have included everything from a traditional Aussie BBQ, to Indian, French, and even traditional Moroccan meals.

The winners of this inaugural Cooks Cup were Matilda Julian and Dan Kyle. Matilda was delighted with the award and in her acceptance speech spoke of the joy she received every time she cooks for the community.

Highly Recommended - Ah and Ben Portious from Mt Tomah's The Hive cafe

Her co-winner Dan wasn't able to attend the event but was similarly joyful when he heard the news. Dan won a 2020 NSW Art Gallery Brett Whiteley Young Travelling Artist Scholarship and he said, “I think the Cooks Cup rounds off my achievements for the year”.

After receiving acknowledgement for painting and cooking Dan is setting his sights on an award for his sporting prowess in 2021. He and Matilda are looking to form a mixed bowls team to compete at the Club and everyone is welcome to join them.

Here are the other prize winners with MP Susan Templeman

Runner up in the Cooks Cup was Mountain Spring Monastery and Dharma Cloud Monastery who delighted the community with a wonderful range of vegetarian and vegan dishes.

And the Highly Recommended award was won by Ben and Ah Portious from Mt Tomah’s The Hive Cafe

Thursday night community dinners will start again on January 17, and between now and then the aspiring Master Chefs will be busy cooking up more delicious dinner ideas.

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