Wild Food Challenge Returns for its Seventh Year
12 May 2004
The Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge Returns for its Seventh Year – Stretching Further and Aiming Higher
Undoubtedly the pre-eminent beer and food matching competition in New Zealand, The Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge is back, providing diners with sumptuous and unique local wild food dishes expertly paired with a craft Monteith’s brew.
This year, the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge has extended to include Queenstown in its competing regions (also including, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and the West Coast).
The national title for best over all restaurant still remains part of the competition, with last year’s winner Bouquet Garni, from Wellington, returning to defend their title.
With 126 restaurants competing this year, Monteith’s aimed to target the restaurants with the skills to offer diners a truly unique dining experience with the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge.
“We wanted our competing restaurants to be able to provide a la carte dining, opening the competition up to not only be about the beer and food match, but also the whole experience of the event.
“We are looking forward to seeing even more wild food themed restaurants and more spirit behind this year’s competition,” said Jacqui Jones, Monteith’s brand manager.
The competition will also run for approximately three weeks instead of its historical two weeks. This will enable people more time to get out and sample the beer and food matched menus.
To enter, each restaurant must compile a menu of an entrée and main. Each dish must comprise of the best available wild food, defined as non-farm-raised produce reared under normal health and safety regulations. Wild food can come from the sea, rivers or lake, the sky or the countryside. Examples from this year’s menus includewild duck, venison, kangaroo, eel and even jellyfish! The dishes may also include wild root vegetables or plants.
The dish then needs to be matched to one of the Monteith’s family of five craft brews, including, Original Ale, Golden, Black, Celtic and Pilsner.
The art of beer and food matching is where the skill lies, each chef must carefully balance the flavour characteristics of the beer to the taste sensations in their dish. One must be careful to play out this symphony with expert precision, to overpower or fail to marry the tastes effectively will lose chefs and their restaurant valuable points. Focusing on delivering the complete dining experience, points are also awarded for service and how the restaurant embraces the spirit of the challenge.
The winning restaurant from each region stands to win a prize package valued at $10,000. Then in addition to this, the over all national winner will receive a prize package valued at $20,000.
“The Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge has been incredibly popular with the hospitality industry since its inception,” said Jacqui Jones.
“Not solely because of its generous prize package, but for the increased trade and publicity it creates for participating restaurants at a typically quieter time of the year.
“The creativity and expertise behind this year’s beer and food matches will have diners mouth’s watering. Every year, participating restaurants extend themselves even further and take the Challenge to the next level.
“Get ready to experience the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge again this year, I expect the bar on providing the best beer and food matching experience will rise yet again,” she said.
This 2004 Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge with run from:
Auckland: 10 June – 4 July
Wellington and Queenstown: 24 June – 18 July
Hamilton: 17 June – 11 July
Tauranga and Dunedin: 1 July – 25 July
Please note that due to timing differences, the West Coast regional winner from 2003, Karamea Village Hotel will be able to compete in this year’s national title.
The West Coast Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge runs later in the year to accommodate the Coast’s peak tourism season.