From South Island luxury lodges to hotel chains from the North; the nine competitors in the 2012 New Zealand Culinary Fare’s prestigious Chef of the Year competition have been named.
The range showcases just how deep New Zealand’s pool of talented chefs is, says Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.
“Our entrants are from boutique hotels, wineries, large international hotel chains, iconic restaurants, a culinary consultancy company and a luxury lodge. Their diverse backgrounds show just how many opportunities exist in hospitality.”
In addition to four cooking challenges over three days, the finalists will – for the first time – have to sit a theory test. The winning chef must achieve a minimum score of 450/500 points over the five events.
“We’re looking for a great all-rounder,” says Bidois. “The winner of the Chef of the Year should have it all; excellent technical skills, creativity, and sound theoretical knowledge. Only the very best will succeed in the series of challenges.”
Returning to defend his 2011 Chef of the Year crown is David Schofield, owner of culinary consultancy Star Anise. He will be joined by:
Kevin Blakeman, from Auckland’s Waitakere Estate
· Monique Garnett, from The George Christchurch
· Atesh Ram, from The Stamford Plaza Auckland
· Zhao Yu from the North Shore International Academy and The French Café
· Caetano Godinho from Hawkes Bay winery Te Awa
· Rajeet Kumar from Sky City
· Daniel Reynolds from Blanket Bay
· Nirav Patel from Novotel Queenstown
Brian Davies, national sales manager of long-time Chef of the Year sponsor Moffat Limited says the competition is expected to be fierce.
“This competition has it all. Immense and sustained pressure and the need to deliver food that not only tastes, but also looks amazing before ‘time’ is called. It is great fit for Moffat, which prides itself on an outstanding range of appliances for professional chefs.”
Co-sponsor, Andy Doherty, CEO of Southern Hospitality is pleased to be supporting the competition.
“With a workforce drawn from the hospitality sector, we champion the latest food trends and fashions. We look forward to the competition and to congratulating the eventual winner,” says Doherty.
Visitors to the NZ Culinary Fare’s open day on Tuesday, August 21 can see Chef of the Year competitors in action, competing in the live main and dessert class, starting from 10.15am in the Pacific Kitchen. In this 90 minute class, contestants have to serve the main course within 60 minutes and the dessert no earlier than 75 minutes.
The winner receives a top of the range turbo fan oven and stand, valued at more than $6,500 from Moffat Limited, and $2,000 of vouchers from Southern Hospitality.
For more information about the 2012 New Zealand Culinary Fare visit www.restaurantnz.co.nz