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Blanket Bay chef wins New Zealand Commis Chef of the Year

Media release from Blanket Bay
27 August 2012

Blanket Bay chef wins New Zealand Commis Chef of the Year

A young chef from Queenstown’s five-star Blanket Bay has claimed the prestigious New Zealand Commis Chef of the Year title, the third time it has gone to the luxury lodge.

Blanket Bay Executive Chef Corey Hume said Kate Florence was a deserving recipient of the title, ably demonstrating many of the skills that are taught in the kitchen on a daily basis.

“Kate is one of those rare talents that you find in our industry at such a young age,” said Chef Hume. “She is a pleasure to teach and an integral member of our small but very talented team of individuals that form the dynamic kitchen brigade at Blanket Bay.”

Twenty-year-old Ms Florence received her award at the New Zealand Culinary Fare organised by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand last week.

The annual event sees students and professionals from across New Zealand test their culinary skills to compete for medals and titles.

To achieve the title of Commis Chef of the Year, Ms Florence competed in a triathlon event incorporating three different classes where she was judged on her skill set, ingenuity and creativity. All three classes required the use of New Zealand produce.

“Kate displayed a wide range of learned skills throughout the competition and the results speak for themselves,” said Chef Hume.

Ms Florence won a gold medal in her Cold Dessert class, creating a tamarillo-based dish called Assiette of New Zealand Tamarillo. She was awarded silver for both the hot main presented cold and the salmon class, creating Manuka honey Glazed Canterbury Duck Breast and Pan Seared New Zealand King Salmon.

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“We were delighted to see Kate take gold in the dessert category, particularly because it is typical of the style of dessert found at Blanket Bay,” said Chef Hume.

Ms Florence’s success is the latest in a long history of culinary competition success for Blanket Bay. Previous chefs took the Commis Chef of the Year title in 2007 and 2009. Over the years Blanket Bay chefs Jason Dell, Mark Sycamore and Joseph Clark have all taken out major awards, including Chef of the Year.

Chef Hume said the win demonstrated Blanket Bay’s commitment to excellence and the value of investing in the industry.

“Kate only had to apply what she has learnt in our kitchen in the past year, and she worked incredibly hard to achieve her goal to attain the title.”

Blanket Bay General Manager Philip Jenkins said the results were testimony to the exceptional quality of the kitchen brigade.

“We regularly encourage our chefs to compete in these types of events as they have a tremendous effect on team morale, as well as building confidence. It’s an important part of career development for any young chef,” he said.

“This result from Kate is outstanding. We’re hugely proud of her, and also very proud of the environment in which she is being nurtured by Corey and his team.”

About Blanket Bay

Established in 1999, Blanket Bay is an expansive lakeside property on a 65,000 acre high country farm, combining the sophistication of the world's finest alpine lodges and the unique characteristics of New Zealand. The intimate resort consists of 12 guest rooms including spacious suites, intimate lodge rooms and elegant chalets. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, accommodations offer travellers vast sitting rooms, king-sized beds, stone fireplaces, secluded balconies and spectacular views. Blanket Bay is consistently voted by many of the world’s leading publications, such as Conde Nast Traveler, New Zealand’s top accommodation property and one of the world’s great Lodges.

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