Commercial Cookery Bringing the Community Together

Learn more about an aspiring chef who hopes to bring us all together through the power of food.

18 Jan 2017

“There’s a renaissance of people realising how important it is to use food as a way to connect with each other. People are doing this in all kinds of creative, inspired and fun ways.” Anna Lappe, Author and Sustainable Food Advocate

After earning one of two prized spots working alongside acclaimed Iron Chef Sakai in Japan, TAFE Queensland Brisbane commercial cookery student Hyeonju Jeon is well on her way to realising her culinary dream.

A former architecture graduate and drafter, Hyeonju put this career path aside when she realised food and its communal power was where her true passion lay.

“Everyone has a certain level of fear when trying new cuisines and it would be less stressful if they try new things unseen in their ordinary meals. I think my food dream can play a role in introducing new cuisines and ideas into Australian culture.” says Hyeonju.

The Iron Chef competition, held on Saturday 27 August 2016, was a joint initiative between TAFE Queensland International, Trade and Investment Queensland and the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

As any fan of Iron Chef will know, brave competitors are tasked with crafting menus around a key ingredient, and in the case of our competition, it was coconut. Hyeojnu masterfully crafted a flavour journey which blended fine Queensland produce with elements of Japanese and Thai cuisine. Just from a single look at the menu, it was obvious that the judging panel was going to love her creations. Her menu included an entree of Tempura Scallop with Coconut Chawanmushi, Frizzled Leek, Yuzu-pickled Fennel; and for dessert, she served up a Coconut Mandarin Parfait, with Poached Seasonal Mandarin, Coconut Genoise and Cointreau Chantilly.

As part of her prize, Hyeonju thoroughly enjoyed the internship experience with Iron Chef Sakai in November 2016.

“I have known Chef Sakai since I first came to Australia and watched the TV show. I became a big fan of the Iron Chef show as I was really interested in cooking and in Japanese culture. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to have a chance to meet and work with Chef Sakai. My study at TAFE Queensland has provided me a strong foundation for my career as a professional chef. TAFE has the best teaching facility and teacher chefs in Brisbane and this French Iron Chef Sakai experience is something you will never find in other culinary institutions.

Using her time in Tokyo with Chef Sakai and current role at leading Brisbane restaurant Sono as a springboard, Hyeonju is looking to complete her Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management (SIT60316) and get started on turning this dream into a reality.

In her own words, “I think my study at TAFE will make it easier to manage my restaurant dream. A modern Australian restaurant inspired by Asian cuisines, where the food provides shared experiences expressed through texture, form, composition and interaction with patrons.”

The key ingredient Hyeonju worked with to craft her winning menu.


Hyeonju’s Iron Chef Coconut Challenge Menu


Tempura Scallop, Coconut Chawanmushi, Frizzled Leek, Yuzu-pickled Fennel


Crispy Pork belly
Marinated in Thai spices, Roasted Cauliflower, Eggplant Puree, Chilli Chutney, Pina colada Basmati Pilaf served with Pineapple Gastrique


Coconut Mandarin Parfait
With Poached Seasonal Mandarin, Coconut Genoise and Cointreau Chantilly

Is your mouth watering? Luckily for you, we have the perfect fix – the recipe for Hyeonju’s sublime Coconut Mandarin Parfait. It’s no walk in the park, but the end result is more than worth the effort.

Hyeonju’s spectacular dessert creation, as delicate as it is divine.


Coconut Mandarin Parfait

With Poached Seasonal Mandarin, Coconut Genoise and Cointreau Chantilly


Coconut Genoise

  • 40 g butter
  • 40 g coconut milk
  • 40 g cornstarch
  • 53 g flour
  • 5 g desiccated coconut
  • 3 eggs
  • 97g sugar

Coconut Tuiles

  • 33 g jam sugar
  • 25 g butter
  • 12 g honey
  • 12 g coconut milk
  • 15 g grated coconut
  • 3 g mandarin zest

Coconut Mandarin Parfait

  • 1 sheet gelatin
  • 60 g coconut milk
  • 100g mandarin juice
  • 10 g lemon juice
  • 60 g sugar
  • 20 g honey
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 30 g powder sugar
  • 100g cream\

Poached Mandarin

  • 100g sugar
  • 125g water
  • 70g white wine
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • ½ lemon peel and juice
  • 3 pcs cardamom pods

Cointreau Chantilly

  • 100g cream
  • 10g sugar
  • 10g Cointreau



For Parfait:

Soak gelatin leaves in cold water for 10 minutes. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and cornflour until it becomes pale while boiling coconut cream. Slowly add hot coconut cream into the egg yolk mixture then pour back into the pot. Cook slowly until it gets to the texture of custard cream (a). Boil mandarin and lemon juice, add soaked gelatin and dissolve. Let it cool down and mix with (a). (b) Whisk cream to 80%. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into (b) and carefully fold the rest in. (c) Pour (c) into desired mould and set in a blast chiller.

For Poached Mandarin:

Combine water, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla bean in a pot and bring it to a boil. Add mandarin and cook for 3-4 mins until it gets tender. Leave it to cool down to room temperature.

For Coconut Genoise:

Preheat the oven at 175 degrees. Combine eggs and sugar, whisk on a bain marie until it gets 58 degrees. Transfer the mixture to kitchen aid and whisk on a medium speed until it gets a soft peak. Fold in flour, cornflour, and desiccated coconut. Finally add melted butter and coconut cream, then pour into a parchment paper lined pan, bake for 20 mins in the oven. 

For Cointreau Chantilly:

Combine cream and sugar, whisk until firm. Add Cointreau at the end.

© TAFE Queensland Brisbane 2018.
RTO 0275 | CRICOS 03020E.