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National award for kai moana cuisine

National award for kai moana cuisine

A complex kai moana dish has won honours for UCOL Assistant lecturer and graduate Pania Wharewera at New Zealand’s leading culinary competitions.

Her dish came first equal in the Nga Kai Ate Maori – Food of the Maori class at the National Culinary Fare in Auckland. It is the first time Maori food has been featured as a separate class in the competition.

Pania wins a Silver medal and a trip to Nelson to visit the Regal Salmon Farm.

Her winning recipe was Seared Horopito crusted Regal Salmon, served with Paua Ravioli and Kina Foam, Urenika and Kawakawa Galette, resting in a sea of Watercress Coulis.

Pania says Regal Salmon is a wonderful source of essential Omega 3, proteins, vitamins and minerals. “These are enhanced through using native herbs such as Kawakawa - a natural appetite stimulant, and Urenika which is a low fat, high iron potato with vibrant colourings and natural antioxidants.

“The kai moana (seafood) enriches this dish with the distinct yet understated kina and celeriac infusion. The paua encased in ravioli adds yet another layer of texture and flavour that delicately embellishes the dish into the watercress coulis”

Pania says her approach to cooking owes most to the “treasure” of growing up surrounded by whanau and extended whanau members and great ringawera (cooks). “Their strong whanau traditions and affinity with the traditional native foods has inspired and empowered me to form my passion for the culinary arts, which also resurrects childhood memories collecting watercress from the creeks and kaimoana from Tangaroa (God of the sea),” she says.

Pania graduated from UCOL in 2006 with certificates in Professional Cookery Level 3 and 4 and Baking & Pastry Level 3.

She now runs UCOL’s training restaurant Ambitions, where she says Regal Salmon and native infusions are always on the menu.


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