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Kiwi Culinary Champions Face Off Against Aussie Rivals

Kiwi Culinary Champions Face Off Against Aussie Rivals in the Gourmet Pacific Challenge

New Zealand’s best chefs are set to battle with their Australian rivals in the top trans-Tasman culinary showdown of the year.

The NZCA Gourmet Pacific Challenge will take place at the ASB Showground’s during Fine Food New Zealand from 22-24 June.

The bi-annual challenge will see the best youth (25 and under) and senior (over 25) chefs from each country producing their very best entrée, main and dessert in the ‘Moffat Culinary Challenge Kitchen’ at the NZ Chefs Association stand, prominently located in Hall One at Fine Foods NZ.

The Australasian battle will take place over two days with the New Zealand senior team and Australian youth team serving their three course lunch from 11:45am – 1:45pm on Sunday 22 June. The Australian senior team and New Zealand youth team will follow the same format on Monday 23 June.

The New Zealand senior culinary team comprises Stephen Le Corre, Darren Wright, Richard Hingston and Mark Sycamore, while the Kiwi youth team is Troy Waters and Heidi Waters.

Their counterparts representing Australia in the senior team are Kurt Von Buren, Michael Lopez, Roshan Thammita and Jenny Key. Oliver Ferguson and Tang Hou Chin round out the Australian team as the youth representatives.

The Gourmet Pacific Challenge showcases New Zealand and Australia’s best culinary talent with tickets available for lunch on both days. A three or four course lunch with a wine match will be served for $30 per head. The ‘Fonterra Culinary Challenge Restaurant’ dining area will be set for 120 diners with 20 youth and 70 senior dishes to be served each day.

Each team will demonstrate their best culinary skills in an effort to impress the panel of internationally recognised judges to ultimately take away the top trophy and bragging rights. The top panel of WACS (World Association of Chefs Societies) endorsed judges includes Martin Carlin (Australia), Graeme Brown (NZ), Graham Hawkes (NZ) and Darren Ho (Australia).

NZ Chefs Association National President, Anita Sarginson, says the NZCA Gourmet Pacific Challenge is New Zealand’s premier international culinary event. She says it will be a very competitive environment where our nation’s best chefs will be cooking up a storm.

“This high level trans-Tasman battle only takes place every second year and is greatly respected in the culinary world – it’s comparable to the Bledisloe Cup for chefs. The Kiwis have been the reigning champions in both the youth and senior events for the last two challenges, and this year they’ll be looking to make it a trifecta,” says Anita.

National pride will also be at stake in a new one off event, ‘Farmer Brown’s Great Pavlova Bake Off’. Australia and New Zealand will each prepare, produce and decorate a pavlova to represent their countries. Each nation will hotly contest the challenge of “who makes the best pav” on Sunday 22 June from 2.30pm – 5.00pm.

The winners of the Gourmet Pacific Challenge and ‘Farmer Brown’s Great Pavlova Bake Off’ will be announced at a prize giving to be held at the Novotel in Ellerslie from 7pm on Monday 23 June.

For information on the NZ Chefs Association, or to buy tickets to the NZCA Gourmet Pacific Challenge lunch, visit, call 0800 692 433, or email For further information on Fine Food New Zealand see


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