The Culinary Institute of New Zealand battled it out in the kitchen to scoop the top spot in one of New Zealand’s premier hospitality industry competitions over the weekend.
The City & Guilds New Zealand Team Skills competition saw seven teams of trainee chefs go head-to-head to cook and serve six plates of a three course meal to a panel of judges and guests.
The Culinary Institute of New Zealand’s winning team comprised chefs, Chelsea Johnston and Tracy Todd and front-of-house, Daniel Alzate.
The team achieved gold awards and won Overall Training Team of the year, winning a $7000 prize package. They were the team with the most marks overall from the three categories: kitchen work, tasting of the dishes and all elements of the restaurant service.
The team also won the Innovation Award for use of sour dough bread in a dessert.
The team have been training for the competition since March, and the hard work certainly paid off.
“It was intense training. Lots of hours. Lots of blood, sweat and tears, but it was an amazing experience,” says CINZ student and winning team member, Chelsea.
Centre Manager of the Culinary Institute, Jon Sefton, said it was great to see his team get recognition for all of their hard work.
“It’s fantastic that the team have been rewarded for all of their hard work and dedication. We have pulled a lot of late nights training, practicing over and over again, tweaking and refining. We couldn’t have asked for a better result.”
The competition was an excellent learning experience for the students, giving them the opportunity to get a feel for how hot it really is in the kitchen!
“It was the first competition I had competed in and it was an awesome learning experience,” says CINZ student and winning team member Daniel.
“It was a very proud moment winning, I couldn’t believe it. It was unbelievable to hear our names being called out at the prize giving."
The teams three course menu:
Entrée: Puhoi Valley Kaipara Wash Rind Cheese with beetroot, filo and herb olive oil (matched with Single Vineyard Nelson Pinot Rosé 2014)
Main: Roasted Cervena Venison wrapped in tamarillo with smoked potato, savoy cabbage, baby carrots, rocket puree and jus (matched with Marsden Estate Tempranillo 2014)
Dessert: Peanut crème with sour dough cocoa soil, dark chocolate, black currant and raspberry caviar, berry foam and gel