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Wild Food Challenge Back For Its Eighth Year

1 June 2005

Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge Back For Its Eighth Year - With More Prizes To Boot!

As the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge gears up for a July start, there will be more categories in the competition creating more prizes and more opportunity for the hospitality industry’s beer and food matching experts.

This year there are 142 entries and for the first time in the history of the competition, cities with large numbers of competitors will now have two prize categories. The beer and food matching creators will enter their menus under one of two specific categories – either restaurant or bar. Monteith’s brand manager Jacqui Jones says this change allows entrants to compete in the same market and against like competitors.

This year, Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington will have two prize categories. Tauranga, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown and the West Coast will remain as is.

Chief Convenor of Judges for the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge, Kerry Tyack, says the prize pool and opportunity to shine has doubled for those restaurants and bars competing in the larger areas.

There will now be two regional winners for each of those areas – Regional Winner Bar and Regional Winner Restaurant, each picking up a $10,000 prize package.

The certificates of merit; Best Individual Beer and Food Match, Best Service and Best Spirit, will also apply to both categories.

To enter the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge bars and restaurants need to create a two course menu of an entrée and main incorporating wild food. This essentially means utilising meats, flora and fauna that are often seen wild along New Zealand’s foreshore and highlands. It includes meats such as boar or possum, seafood such as paua, plant life like seaweed or herbs like horopito. Wild food can also be sourced from overseas, such as buffalo or crocodile meat.

Then each dish from the entrant’s creative menu is expertly matched with a complementing Monteith’s beer. The flavours that make up the variant of Monteith’s beer need to accentuate the tastes within the dish. For example, chefs can choose the bitter and palate cleansing Monteith’s Pilsner or the rich and smoky character of Monteith’s Celtic.

“To get the match right and create the perfect taste synergy between the wild food and the Monteith’s beer is the ultimate culinary challenge for even the most skilled chef”, says Jacqui Jones.

The Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge will still roll out in its usual manner. The first regions to start competing are Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga from 10 July – 31 July, followed by Wellington and Christchurch from 17 July to 7 August and ending with Dunedin, Queenstown and the West Coast on 24 July to 14 August.

The two regional winners from each of the three larger entrant areas will then compete for the esteemed title of National Winner in their respective categories. The regional winner for Tauranga, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown and the West Coast will choose to compete for the national title either as a bar or a restaurant. These regional winning restaurants will then run their menus from 27 August to 24 September allowing the judges to make their nationwide tasting tour to decide the National Winners. Again, a double prize package of $20,000 apiece will be awarded to the winning restaurant and winning bar.

Another welcome addition to this year’s Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge is the West Coast. This region joined the competition three years ago, but ran separately later in the year to coincide with their busy winter tourist season. Now that the word about the Monteith’s Challenge has spread and the Coast has the 2004 National Winner (Karamea Village Hotel) under their belt the region will compete mid-year with all other regions.

ENDS

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