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World Chefs body backs NZ tea gastronomy contest

World Chefs body backs NZ tea gastronomy contest

A select group of New Zealand’s chefs and food and beverage professionals are about to enter a culinary challenge that has the backing of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS).

Fourteen teams of two will be selected later this month from national entries in The Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge. They will meet in Auckland for the one day contest on September 18, with the winners to be presented the following evening at a ChariTea Dinner at Euro Restaurant. The ChariTea is being held to raise funds for a NZ trainee chef scholarship and a culinary school in Sri Lanka.

The Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge is part of the Dilmah Tea Gastronomy programme, which includes a Tea Sommelier Competition and a Chefs and the Teamaker Challenge in Sri Lanka as well as training at the Dilmah International School of Tea in Sri Lanka and at L’Institute Paul Bocuse in France. The programme has evolved from a decade long exploration of tea as an ingredient in fine food as a sensory pairing.

The partnership with WACS for the entire Dilmah Tea Gastronomy programme will be a global one. President of the WACS Gissur Gudmundsson says chefs believe in constantly learning and improving their skills.

“What Dilmah has done for tea and gastronomy has been admirable,” Gissur Gudmundsson says. “Their humanitarian efforts are also strongly aligned with our beliefs. We are, therefore, very proud to partner them and look forward to this collaboration."

Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando says Dilmah tea gastronomy brings together the goodness of real tea with culinary art, where tea normally served in a cup is now also being served on a plate.

“The result is a journey of gastronomical discovery suitable for a 21st century lifestyle,” Mr Fernando says. “We are pleased to partner with WACS and together take tea gastronomy to the next level."

In the The Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge teams will prepare a hot tea, a hot tea mocktail, a chilled tea cocktail and a chilled tea mocktail to serve with savoury and sweet afternoon tea food items and a sweet and a savoury food item that uses tea to flavour.

Teams must register online at before August 17, after which the final 14 teams will be announced.

Dilhan C. Fernando, Director of Marketing for Dilmah, will be joined on the judging panel by Australia TV chef and owner of Sydney’s Flying Fish Restaurant Peter Kuruvita and internationally renowned Black Hat chef Bernd Uber.

The two members of the winning team will receive a five-day trip to Sri Lanka’s famous Tea Trails and also have the chance to present their Real High Tea to the Dilmah family and special guests. During a two-day stay in Colombo they will also serve their winning Real High Tea at the Hilton Colombo Dilmah t-Bar.

The team will also attend the Charitea Dinner at Euro Restaurant on September 19, where Executive Chef Simon Gault will present a four course dinner to help raise funds for a trainee NZ chef to go to Sri Lanka and for a culinary school being started by the Founder of Dilmah Merrill J Fernando’s MJF Foundation.

Shane Cortese will be MC for evening, which will also feature an auction by NZ’s Top Auctioneer for 2012, Daniel Coulson of Bayleys, and actor Miriama Smith talking about her experiences at the MJF Foundation in Sri Lanka.


About Dilmah tea gastronomy:
Dilmah is a family tea company established by Merrill J. Fernando to offer the finest tea on earth to consumers around the world. Dilmah took the lead in bringing innovation to the hospitality sector tea experience with its Tea Gastronomy and Mixology programmes. In a category dominated by commodity tea, Dilmah offers quality and maintains its commitment to garden fresh tea that is unblended. The Dilmah School of Tea and the Tea Gastronomy programmes are a part of an effort to help tea drinkers and hospitality professionals understand real tea and to appreciate that, like wine, it has terroir.
For more information please visit and

About the World Association of Chefs Societies:
The World Association of Chefs' Societies (WACS) is a global network of chefs associations founded in 1928 at the Sorbonne in Paris. This global body now has 93 official chefs associations as members representing more than 10 million professional chefs worldwide. WACS is dedicated to maintaining and improving the culinary standards of global cuisines. It accomplishes these goals through education, training and professional development of its international membership. Website: The New Zealand Chefs Association is part of WACS


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