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Blanket Bay chef to represent New Zealand

Media Release from Blanket Bay Lodge
5 September 2008

Blanket Bay chef to represent New Zealand in global competition

The multi-award winning cuisine team at Queenstown’s Blanket Bay has hit gold again this week as Chef Mark Sycamore accompanied by Junior Chef Joseph Clark won the right to represent New Zealand at the next stage of the WACS Global Chef’s Challenge.

The pair cooked up a gold medal winning storm and achieved the highest points in the New Zealand National Final of the event held in Auckland earlier this week. Mark and Joseph will head to Australia next year to represent New Zealand in the Pacific region stage of the international competition. Success there would gain entry to the final to be held in Chile in 2010 as part of the WACS (World Association of Chefs Societies) biennial congress.

Blanket Bay Head Chef Jason Dell says it’s an outstanding result for his team, particularly as it follows several other competition successes this year.

“We have had a great year with many gold medals and accolades for individuals and teams within our staff. The WACS competition is particularly tough with several stages starting at the regional level. The Auckland cook-off was a proper, 7 hour cooking competition with serious time pressures. He received a list of ingredients with which he needed to create a four course menu for eight people. Joseph is junior chef with a very promising future; he’s picked up two major awards already this year and was an integral part of Mark’s success.”

Blanket Bay General Manager Philip Jenkins says he’s delighted with the ongoing success of his culinary team.

“At Blanket Bay, our kitchen performance is crucial to our reputation as among the world’s finest luxury lodges. By encouraging our chefs to take part in competitions we gain exceptional food quality and high guest satisfaction while helping the chefs further their individual careers and develop reputations. Competition also boosts team morale and builds a positive, supportive working environment. The end result is that we have excellent staff retention which is very important in the highly competitive area of cuisine personnel.”

Mr Jenkins also paid tribute to Blanket Bay’s multi-award winning Executive Chef Jason Dell for leading his team by example.

“Jason is an exemplary chef and manager and has inspired those under his tutelage to strive for excellence. He has developed a team which is adaptable, flexible and innovative – the qualities needed to cater to the daily dietary requirements and dietary whims of each and every guest. This is a huge part of our standard of excellence and something many chefs can’t cope with.”

Recent successes from the Blanket Bay culinary team:

September 2008, Auckland
• Mark Sycamore named winner of the New Zealand National Final of the WACS Global Chefs Challenge 2010.
July 2008, Dunedin
• Chef Joseph Clarke won the Southern Lights Commis Chef of the Year award for the second year in a row.
• Chef Mark Sycamore won the Southern Lights Open Chef of the Region for the third time in three attempts.
June/July 2008
• Blanket Bay Chef Morgan Thacker named South Island Commis Chef of the Year.
• Chef Joseph Clarke awarded special Hospitality Standards Institute award recognizing his achievements to date.
• Chef Mark Sycamore awarded $12,000 Restaurant Association of New Zealand Continuing Education Grant which will be used to facilitate a trip to The American Culinary School in New York in September.

ENDS

About Blanket Bay:
Established in 1999, Blanket Bay is an expansive lakeside property on a 65,000 high country farm, combining the sophistication of the world's finest alpine lodges and the unique characteristics of New Zealand. The intimate resort consists of 12 rooms including spacious suites, intimate lodge rooms and elegant chalets. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, accommodations offer travellers vast sitting rooms, king-sized beds, stone fireplaces, secluded balconies and spectacular views.

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