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Call for Students to Enter Cooking Competition

Local Food Personalities Call for Students to Enter Cooking Competition

Cantabrian students are gearing up to teach local chefs a thing or two about healthy eating, in an inaugural cook-off that aims to encourage better food education in schools.

Spearheaded by national food education charity Garden to Table and Christchurch City Council, the entry to the competition is open to all Year 7 and 8 students in the Christchurch area until 14 July.

Students are asked to pair up with a friend or as a school group and submit a delicious two course vegetarian menu specifically designed to minimise food waste. They’ll be scored on their creative root-to-tip cooking, using fresh, seasonal produce.

Four pairs will be selected to go through to the final which will see the passionate foodies battling it out in a cook-off, held at Casebrook Intermediate.

A panel of four judges will taste their final dishes and the winning pair will receive a behind the scenes tour of Bearlion Foods, a restaurant in Christchurch. They’ll also enjoy a guided tour of ARA Nutrition Campus, Southern Hospitality prize pack and a one year school membership to the Garden to Table Online Programme (valued at $299).

Aimed at raising awareness of food education in New Zealand schools, The Root to Tip Challenge has caught the attention of local chefs Alesha Bilbrough-Collins chef at Bearlion Foods, Alex Davies of Gatherings Restaurant and Living Winebar and renowned New Zealand chef Jonny Schwass who will judge the final dishes.

A chef of 25 years, Jonny is heavily involved in the New Zealand food scene and believes food education needs to be at the core of the New Zealand curriculum.

“I love the idea of encouraging kids to see the value in minimising waste by using every last bit of an ingredient and it’s through practical and curriculum integrated programmes like Garden to Table that teach our children this fundamental life skill,” says Jonny.

“I can’t wait to see what innovative and delicious dishes the teams will prepare from their respective winter gardens.”

A joint initiative between the Garden to Table Trust and Christchurch City Council, The Root to Tip School Cooking Challenge was created following the release of recent research by Massey University which identified Kiwi children are not being taught how to cook.

Passionate about our nation’s wellbeing, Garden to Table South Island programme coordinator Victoria Biddick believes the competition will help to instill food education as a positive part of our children’s lives.

“For any adult, it's fairly easy to create a good meal by walking into a supermarket and buying ingredients but our Cooking Challenge encourages students to be resourceful by using seasonal produce sourced direct from their school, community and family gardens.”

Besides getting local kids excited about healthy eating, Christchurch City Council’s Manager of Solid Waste Ross Trotter hopes the competition will continue to build a sense of community for local schools.

“We’re so pleased to see kids getting in the kitchen. It’s also an engaging way to get young chefs and their parents thinking about better food choices and minimising food waste which is a key Love Food Hate Waste message.”

Other local food personalities involved include Community Nutrition Advisor at CDHB Janne Pasco and Garden to Table founder and chairperson Catherine Bell.

To enter, students can download the required forms at www.gardentotable.org.nz

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