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Anniversary menu promises 'piece de resistance'

Media Release: 22 May 2006

25TH Anniversary menu promises 'piece de resistance' from industry's brightest

The South Island's food and hospitality event of the year, CPIT Salon Culinaire, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2006 and the three-day celebration is set to be a 'feast for the eyes' as the best battle it out for top honours.

Organised by Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT), the celebration of excellence in food and hospitality on 26 to 28 June at the Christchurch Town Hall promises to be bigger and brighter than ever as chefs, baristas, cocktail mixologists, sommeliers and hospitality staff and students showcase the food and hospitality industry to the public.

Among the prestigious titles up for grabs are the coveted 'South Island Chef of the Year', 'South Island Mixologist of the Year' and 'South Island Restaurant of the Year'. Section winners in the 'Of Year' cookery classes go on to compete in the national finals.

Member of the CPIT Salon Culinaire organising team Stuart Goodall believes winning a 'class' requires the 'x' factor. "It comes down to passion, a competitive streak and practise, practise, practise!"

Goodall is a veteran of the event having been involved since the beginning. He says culinary competitions such as CPIT Salon Culinaire are an ideal forum for spotting emerging trends in cuisine.

"Over the years we've seen an increase in the influence of South Pacific and Asian cooking styles and ingredients which are reflective of our growing multi-cultural society. They also signal a willingness by New Zealanders to embrace new cuisine. It's great to see how these innovations have become mainstream over time. Cuisine, after all, is dynamic and echoes a society and its people."

This year CPIT Salon Culinaire sees 'duck breast' on the competition menu. The introduction of new competition foods is based on what is currently offered in restaurants, says Goodall.

"It allows competitors to showcase their ideas of how to present the produce. It's always exciting to see what innovative techniques and presentation styles are brought into the competition arena and how participants 'push the boundaries'."

Another first for CPIT Salon Culinaire in 2006 is the Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI) Secondary Schools Challenge. This skills-based competition for students studying hospitality at school and considering a career in the industry will see teams from Burnside High, Lincoln High, Nelson College and Mackenzie College submit a three-course menu of entrée, main and dessert cooked on stage over three hours. This event will take place on Monday 26 June from 3.00 pm - 6.00 pm.

Goodall believes that no competition is complete without a little friendly Trans Tasman rivalry and this year organisers have included the annual 'cook off' CPIT has with two of its Australian counterparts. On Tuesday 27 June from 8.00 am - 11.00 am teams from CPIT and the Canberra Institute of Technology will contest current holder of the title, Gordon Institute of TAFE (Geelong) for the prestigious Trans Tasman Trophy in cookery and Front of House events. Participants will be judged on work method and skills and finished product. Goodall says international competitions such as the 'Trans Tasman Trophy Challenge' provide food and hospitality students with an ideal training ground and opportunity to develop an industry profile.

"We really see students competing step up to another level as they must perform under pressure in a team environment. Confidence and personality really come to the fore and it's great to see champions in the making."

Visitors to Salon Culinaire will also have the opportunity to learn about the products and services supplied to the food and hospitality industry at the Culinary Expo running alongside the event.

CPIT Salon Culinaire is free to the public.

CPIT Salon Culinaire, Christchurch Town Hall: Monday 26 June: 3.00 pm - 6.00 pm (Secondary Schools Challenge) Tuesday 27 June: 8.00 am - 8.00 pm Wednesday 28 June: 8.00 am - 9.30 pm


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