Albion Park Outdoor Camp Kitchen Challenge returns with a bang

KEEN EYE: Albion Park Outdoor Camp Kitchen Challenge judge Marilyn Connelly checks the roast pork cooking on a South Africian Cobb cooker. Picture: Adam McLean.
KEEN EYE: Albion Park Outdoor Camp Kitchen Challenge judge Marilyn Connelly checks the roast pork cooking on a South Africian Cobb cooker. Picture: Adam McLean.

Men like to believe they’re king when it comes to the barbecue and outdoor cooking in general.

But Shirley Ellis from Albion Park showed the fairer sex are just as handy if not more when it comes to using camp ovens, barbecues and other similar cooking apparatus to conjure a tasty meal.

Ellis proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was indeed queen of outdoor cooking, winning the overall Albion Park Outdoor Camp Kitchen Challenge title on Saturday.

She took out best meal and best dessert to win the overall title.

‘’Judges were particularly impressed with her meal. They gave her 23 out of a possible 25, which is a great score,’’ challenge coordinator and Albion Park Chamber of Commerce president Graeme Morrison said.

‘’She called her dish The Wise Pig. It was cooked in sage, apple cider and vegetables. It was impressive.’’

Ellis also wowed the judges with her petite plum pies dessert.

HOT AND TASTY: The chili mushroom sauce Gary Walker produced went down a treat with judges and fellow competitors alike. Picture: Adam McLean

HOT AND TASTY: The chili mushroom sauce Gary Walker produced went down a treat with judges and fellow competitors alike. Picture: Adam McLean

‘’The judges were very impressed with her petite plum pies. They couldn’t get enough,’’ Morrison said.

But Shirley isn’t the only one in the Ellis household who is handy around the camp oven – husband Peter produced a tasty entree of scallops, prawns and lobster ravioli in bisque sauce with laksa spices that the judges also couldn’t get enough of, awarding his dish the best entree of the competition.

The trip from Raymond Terrace in Newcastle was worth it for Ray Stanton, whose ‘Beef Royale’ took out the best main dish award.

The judges were very impressed with her petite plum pies.

Event coordinator Graeme Morrison

The crew from APCC won the best damper category for their tasty traditional scones with cream and strawberry.

Morrison said 16 cooks entered the challenge, which returned this year after a five-year hiatus.

‘’We had four successful years from 2007-11 and we’ve decided to revive the popular event this year. It’s gone so well I’m sure we will be back bigger and better next year,’’ he said.

APCC teamed up with the Illawarra Light Rail Museum to run the family-fun event where cooks of any standard could try their hand at outdoor cooking.

After keen cooks conjured up a range of creative dishes during the cooking challenge from 7am to 2pm, young and old alike enjoyed listening to music while some even took a train ride.

‘’It was a great day,’’ Morrison said.