The race toward the finish line saw the Chinese team lagging behind, unable to get their dishes out on time. “They will certainly be penalized for that,” said Bill Sy (司宛春), a judge from Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, The Art Institute, in Arizona, US. “There were also some tiny hygiene lapses in the teams from China and Taiwan,” he added.
From being the unexpected winner of the qualifying round in Taipei (Taipei Times, April 6, Page 12), Li and Lin managed to get third place in the competition, beating the team from Shanghai. In terms of flavor and presentation, Taipei’s team got high marks from the judges, and Loic Colliau from STAY at Taipei 101, who had been brought in to judge the dessert segment, said that he thought Lin and Li had produced the best dessert of the competition. As the judges deliberated, the chefs cleared their stations and also checked out the dishes presented by the other contestants. Finally, after a rundown of the finer points of each dish, Palmer announced that the overall winner was the team from Hong Kong. Competition experience and possibly the more international environment of Hong Kong had given Zimmer and Lau a slight edge, but according to Jorin, the rest of Asia is catching up quickly.
“From everything I see, Asian chefs doing fine dining is growing very quickly,” Jorin said after to competition. “They are learning so fast, but they are also putting their own twist on [Western fine dining] … They have learned from the West, but then have incorporated their own cultural heritage, and put that together into a nice blend.”