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Central Otago dream team wins double gold

4 September 2008

Central Otago dream team wins double gold

From left: Coach Mark Sycamore (Blanket Bay chef), Elizabeth Payne, Rebecca Ewings and Chloe Dunnachie (front).


Central Otago Polytechnic has won double gold at the Nestlé Toque d’Or, New Zealand’s most prestigious student culinary and restaurant service competition, held in Auckland on 1 September.

The judging panel of the world renowned, invitation-only culinary competition awarded first and second year Professional Cookery students Chloe Dunnachie (20), Rebecca Ewings (20) and Elizabeth Payne (18) gold medals for their outstanding culinary skills and restaurant service.

The dream team was pipped for the overall Golden Hat Trophy by the New Zealand Armed Forces team but were thrilled with their double gold which places them in the country’s top four culinary training institutes.

“We’re over the moon!” says Chloe. “We’d put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make sure everything was just right so we’re really excited that the hard work has paid off.”

Under intense pressure and the critical eye of the judging panel, aspiring chefs Chloe and Rebecca and restaurant server Elizabeth prepared and served six covers of a three-course menu in just two and a half hours. The gold-winning menu included:

* Éscabeche of Akaroa salmon with scotched quail egg, warm vegetable salad, saffron vinaigrette and kalamata olive mayonnaise

* Prime New Zealand sirloin with a forest mushroom farce, served with a silverbeet and horseradish potato cake, steamed carrots, roasted parsnips, and red wine jus

* Roasted hazelnut semifreddo with silken chocolate mousse, ginger wine poached pear and pistachio anglaise.

Click for big version
Gold winning dish - Prime New Zealand sirloin with a forest mushroom farce, served with a silverbeet and horseradish potato cake, steamed carrots, roasted parsnips, and red wine jus


Team Manager and Cromwell Otago Polytechnic Hospitality Programme Director Peter Schorer is absolutely delighted for the girls.

“We’re so proud of them. This was a pressure cooker situation and they handled themselves perfectly – they remained calm, composed, confident and focused at all times. Their work methods were impeccable and the food presentation was absolutely stunning – it really had the wow factor!

“The standard of the competition was very high across the board so we’re delighted that the judges, who are some of New Zealand’s finest chefs and culinary professionals, were so impressed with both the food and service.”

Elizabeth Payne, Rebecca Ewings and Chloe Dunnachie


The Nestlé Toque d’Or competition is held in 17 countries around the world and is regarded as a launching pad for a successful career in the hospitality industry. Former competitors in the New Zealand event include Sonya Paget, Executive Chef at Auckland’s George Restaurant and Bar, and Josh Emett, who now works as Head Chef at London’s prestigious Savoy Grill. International chefs Jamie Oliver and Anton Mosiman are former competitors in the UK event.


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