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Junior Chefs To Battle It Out To Find NZ’s Best At Culinary Cook Offs


Top young chefs from around New Zealand are sharpening their knives as they get ready to face off in the North and South Island regional finals this month at the 2024 Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award.

Junior chefs who are considered the ‘cream of the crop’ in their chosen field have entered the competition to battle it out against each other in a series of culinary cook offs to find New Zealand’s best.

The South Island event takes place at Ara Institute in Christchurch on Wednesday 12 June while the North Island heats are held across two days at Ignite College in Auckland on 13 and 14 June.

All the chefs, aged 16-24 years, have entered the competition for a chance to further fire up their culinary careers and will be going all out to win the coveted top award.

Competing chefs will each create a two-course menu comprising a main and dessert dish – both of which will be marked by a panel of leading industry judges according to globally recognised culinary standards.

Nestlé Professional Commercial Advisory Chef Karl Seidel says cooking off in a competitive environment and going up against other top culinary talent is a valuable learning experience. Participating chefs also gain insights and feedback on their cooking skills from experienced judges who are accredited to global standards.

Last year, Joosje Bouman and Lilly Boles won their respective regional heats in New Zealand and went on to compete at the Grand Finals held at Fine Food Australia in Sydney.

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Reflecting on their experiences, both Joosje and Lilly say the rewards gained from competing were invaluable. Regardless of experience level, they say that every aspiring chef can shine at the event.

The winner of each of the two regional finals will then go onto a kitchen battle against other top chefs from across Australia in the public arena at Fine Food Australia in Melbourne this September.

The 2024 Golden Chef of the Year winner will receive a World Chef’s Congress 2024

20-25 October travel and work experience in Singapore valued at $10K.

Now in its 59th year, the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award supports top emerging culinary talent from New Zealand and Australia to ignite their careers. Two New Zealanders Sam Heaven and Gabby Sanders have previously won the top award.

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