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Regal Secondary School Cooks Crowned

Regal Cooks Crowned

New Zealand’s best secondary school chef is Jeremy Toka from Southern Cross Campus in Mangere, Auckland.

Competing in the College Challenge at the food technology ‘nationals’ in Auckland today, Jeremy’s Regal Risotto was named the best of those prepared by 28 entrants from 16 schools.

The dish – comprising marinated Regal Marlborough Salmon on pumpkin risotto with courgette spaghetti and tomato butter – is considered a big challenge for a culinary competition.

The judges were impressed by the general level of skill from the college students but were clear why Jeremy Toka won.

“Jeremy’s work methods were first class for his level of experience. The presentation of his Marlborough Salmon dish was excellent,” says chief judge Phillp Nickson-Clark.

First prize is a scholarship to the Auckland Hotel Chefs and Training School worth more than $5,500.

The school’s Paul Anderson, who is also spokesperson for the challenge, says the results of the event bode well for the food industry.

“The large number of entrants signals that food technology is alive and well in New Zealand colleges and that the future of the culinary industry is in good shape.

“And the standard of cooking throughout the competition was pleasingly high. Marlborough Salmon presents a big challenge for young chefs because its naturally-high oil content which provides its rich flavour means it can be over-cooked quite quickly.

"However it presents extremely well because of its deep-orange colour and firm texture.

“Regal Marlborough Salmon is a quality product and one that is New Zealand’s own – and of course it’s available fresh any day of the week all year round so all so it’s ideal for our national competition,” says Anderson.

The College Challenge is the biggest of 66 competitions at the Culinary Fare in Auckland, part of the three-day Hospitality Show run by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.

First and second runners up were Megan Dabb from Orewa College and Chloe Goold from Corran School in Remuera.

The 28 food technology students from Kaikohe in the north to Pahiatua in the south are aged between 15 and 17years.

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