Secondary school students display mind-blowing talent at NZ's biggest regional hospitality competition

2019 Culinary Fare judge Keven Dunseth is a former Wintec student

Keven Dunseth is a former Wintec Hospitality student who returned to judge this year’s Waikato Culinary Fare.

Knives flashed and the concentration was intense as 523 secondary students from 32 schools sliced, diced and iced their way through the 2019 Waikato Culinary Fare competition at Wintec.

Students travelled from across the Waikato and as far as Auckland, Whitianga and Taupō to spend two days competing in live events at Waikato Culinary Fare which is now New Zealand’s biggest regional hospitality competition.

Hamilton Girls’ High School took out the Waikato Top School award, while Te Awamutu College took home the Regional Finals National Secondary School Culinary Challenge Team award and first year Wintec Culinary Arts student Ziyi (Zane) Li was awarded Novotel Tainui Hamilton – Junior Hospitality Student Waikato.

Waikato Culinary Fare Trust co-organiser and Wintec Hospitality Manager, Peter Radojkovich says the unsung heroes on the day are the food technology teachers.

“Hats off to our food tech teachers – they do an amazing job of coaching, supporting and giving their students the confidence to cook well in a live competition. It’s our teachers who are guiding their students to develop their talent and be successful.

“The quality of entries was really high. We saw cakes that looked and tasted like they came from top patisseries and pizzas, burgers and mains that would draw high praise on a restaurant or café menu. You would not have thought they were made by intermediate and secondary school students.”

Cater Plus Chief Executive Paul Hodge says the many industry people who took two days out of their busy schedules to support the event were pivotal to its success.

“The Trust is grateful for the ongoing sponsorship by the hospitality industry and the support of industry people in assisting with the task of judging, we couldn’t stage an event of this size without them.”

A number of former Wintec staff and students also returned to judge Waikato Culinary Fare.

Wintec’s Amy Opperman, a former hospitality tutor who returned to judge this year, said the level of skill in the secondary school events was “mind-blowing”.

“The students this year were so skilful,” said Amy. “The judges were honestly quite blown away with the students’ talent.”

Auckland’s Massey High School teams took up residence for three days at Wintec’s Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa Marae. After being welcomed with a pōwhiri, the students wasted no time and got a head start preparing for the Fare in the wharekai (marae kitchen).

As well as cupcake decoration, innovative challenges included creative pizzas, Māori kai and cocktails along with knife-skills, mystery box challenges and a table-setting competition. This year the mystery box challenge attracted a record 37 teams (of two).  The chicken main, pizza and hamburger challenges were so popular, extra heats were added - perhaps an indication of what students like to eat most.

Danielle Garner's entry in the 2019 Wintec Culinary Fare scored 100 pointsOn trend and on form, this stunning German chocolate cake scored a perfect 100 points and got distinction for Danielle Garnier from Sacred Heart Girls’ College with its gold leaf, tempered chocolate, roses and piping.

The competition aims to encourage and nurture future chefs. The Fare, which is run under the Waikato Culinary Fare Trust, is a partnership between Wintec School of Hospitality and Cater Plus.

The National Secondary Schools Culinary Competition (NSSCC) also took place alongside Waikato Culinary Fare  and Te Awamutu College student Ilisa Folau won the Waikato competition with her dish, dukkah crusted carrot falafel with a vibrant carrot puree, pickled carrot, smoked feta and tahini sauce.

The full list of winners are:

 Class description                 

 Medal             

 Name

 School

 Cup Cakes Secondary School Culinary

 Gold

 Heidi Stewart

 Epsom Girls Grammar   School

 Finger Food Platter - Junior

 Silver

 Ziyi Li

 Wintec

 Cold Dessert Secondary School Culinary

 Gold

 Carol Hu

 Waikato Diocesan School   for Girls

 Cold Dessert Junior

 Bronze

 Ziyi Li

 Wintec

 Savoury Pie - Secondary School Culinary

 Silver

 Brooke Moore

 Tauhara College Taupo

 Cold Entree - Junior

 Silver

 Manon Rahain

 Waihi College

 Café Cake - Secondary School Culinary

 Gold with   Distinction

 Danielle Garnier

 Sacred Hearts Girls College

 Café Cake - Junior

 Gold

 Blake Hassall

 MCA Cookery Programme

 Cup Cakes - Intermediate School Yr 7   and 8

 Gold

 Emma Walmsley

 Maeroa Intermediate

 Mystery Box Secondary School Culinary

 Gold

 Jenny Im & Jennifer   Chhouk

 Epsom Girls Grammar   School

 WNSSCC Regional Event

 Gold

 Ilisa Folau

 Te Awamutu College

 Creative Savoury Pizza - Secondary   Schools Culinary

 Silver

 Benjamin Donovan

 Hamilton Boys High School

 Magic Box Team Event Junior - Yr 1

 Silver

 Ziyi Li & Vincent Morrice

 Wintec

 Creative Burger - Secondary School   Culinary

 Silver

 Brooke Moore

 Tauhara College Taupo

 Creative Burger - Junior

 Silver

 Vincent Morrice

 Wintec

 Soup Dish - Secondary School Culinary

 Gold

 Olivia Moore

 Tauhara College Taupo

 Soup Dish Junior Yr 1

 Bronze

 Vincent Morrice

 Wintec

 Salmon Dish - Secondary School Culinary

 Gold

 Brooke Moore

 Tauhara College Taupo

 Healthy Lunch - Secondary School   Culinary

 Silver

 Eva Griffin-Jones

 Otumoetai College

  Main Course - Junior

 Silver

 Ziyi Li

 Wintec

  Magic Box Team Event Junior - Yr 2

 Silver

 Rhys Raquedan &   Angelique Moyle

 Toi Ohomai Institute of   Technology

 Pasta Dish Junior

 Merit

 Ziyi Li

 Wintec

 Chicken Dish - Secondary School   Culinary

 Gold

 Brooke Moore

 Tauhara College Taupo

 Salmon Dish - Junior

 Bronze

 Kartik Tanwar

 Wintec

 Creative Table Setting - Secondary   School  Culinary

 Acknowledgement   of Participation

 Martine Erasmus

 Rototuna Junior High School

 Barista - Secondary School Culinary

 Gold

 Tayla Malone

 John Paul College

 Non Alcoholic Cocktail - Secondary   School Culinary

 Gold

 Tayla Malone

 John Paul College

Photos from the two days of competition are featured on the Waikato Culinary Fare  Facebook page.

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