Talented chefs on the medals podium
Talented chefs on the medals podium at national culinary competition
News release from:
West Auckland Trusts
Titirangi’s most talented chef has picked up two medals at the prestigious New Zealand Culinary Fare. Steve Weston, executive chef at Bricklane Restaurant and Bar in New Lynn, twice cooked up a podium finishing dish against some of the best chefs from around New Zealand last month, in a competition where the 44-year-old served up a succulent Mediterranean chicken dish and a gastronomic venison main course.
Chef Weston’s silver-medal winning dish in the Mediterranean Dish class presented chicken breast stuffed with sun-dried tomato risotto and a feta cheese-filled tomato. Then, chef Weston won a bronze medal in the Venison Dish section with a delicious venison loin wrapped in blue cheese and served on a pumpkin polenta and poached pears with rocket salad.
Both dishes had to be prepared in front of a live crowd and all prepared, cooked and served within 60 minutes before a critical panel of professional judges who assessed each dish to a set of strict criteria.
“I competed at the New Zealand Culinary Fare for the first time last year and came away with a bronze medal, so this year I’ve gone even better,” admits medal-winning chef Weston who lives in Titirangi and has been cooking at Bricklane Restaurant and Bar in New Lynn since the venue opened some four years ago.
Lucky Titirangi diners at the restaurant helped chef Weston finely hone his preparation skills – with the dishes served up as ‘menu specials’ while he practised in the weeks leading up to the national culinary competition.
“That practice helped immensely in developing a routine which I followed in the heat of the competition,” added chef Weston. “My ambition now is to train even harder next year and go for a gold medal at the Culinary Fare, so diners should keep an eye out for any specials on the Bricklane menu in September next year and they’d have a pretty good guess at what I’ll be presenting.”
Meanwhile, fellow West Auckland chef Shannon Hale picked up three bronze medals at the same competition – in the Café Breakfast, Beef, and Venison classes. Chef Hale, who cooks at the Lincoln Green Hotel in West Auckland, spent two months practising for his events. His favourite dish – a gourmet breakfast feast – consisted of wild pig bacon, smoke venison sausage, scrambled eggs with truffles, and topped off with smoked capsicum relish.
“If that dish was for sale in the restaurant it would be worth $30,” smiled 36-year-old chef Hale. “Cooking is in the family blood-line… both my mum and grandfather were chefs, and I’ve been doing it for the past 12-years. I love creating dishes with real depth of flavour and I love seeing people enjoy the food I’ve made from them.”
The annual New Zealand Culinary Fare at the Auckland Showgrounds is one of the world’s biggest professional cookery competitions – bringing together almost 1000 kitchen and restaurant service competitors in 66 categories from around New Zealand. Held over three days of intense competition, judging the array of different disciplines and categories runs from as early as 6am through to 6pm.