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First tastes best at nationwide school cooking competition

August 30, 2013
For Immediate Release

First tastes best at nationwide school cooking competition
Top of the Island takes top prize in competition

Nearly 400 budding culinary stars from around the country took part in the fourth annual MAGGI Kitchen Showdown cooking competition which finished this week.

The intermediate students created outstanding meals that impressed the discerning taste-buds of an expert judging panel, stood up to critique from Nestlé’s resident nutritionist and also had to meet strict budget requirements.

Kerikeri’s Springbank School’s dish of vegetable wrapped Hoki, homemade egg noodles and Asian slaw was the winning meal that saw the pupils taking home the grand prize of $5,000 for their school. Zach Kingsford, Andrew Knight, Kate Hewitt and Michael Horsman beat out finalists from Plimmerton School in Wellington and Outram School in Otago, with both runners-up winning $1,000 for their school.

And for Springbank School the competition doesn’t end here. The winning money will be used to establish a brand new food technology facility, with pupils eager to get in and start practicing for the 2014 MAGGI Kitchen Showdown.

“We have a lot of students who are keen to learn more about food technology. The prize money will be used to set up new food technology facilities to enable our students to create new culinary sensations,” says Springbank School Principal, Mike Warren.

“We are very proud of our students for winning this year’s MAGGI Kitchen Showdown and we look forward to seeing what new and exciting, tasty treats they will create for their teachers in the near future!”

The competition finalists had just 50 minutes to cook their signature dish, and had to keep cool heads under the pressure of cooking and being judged live on the Erin Simpson Show on August 30th.

“The enthusiasm of the teams has been overwhelming, and the calibre of the dishes has been another step up again this year,” says Mike Lee, judge and resident chef on the Erin Simpson Show.

“Having to factor in a $20 budget and create a nutritionally balanced meal adds extra elements for the teams to consider, and they’ve embraced it completely creating great tasting meals that the whole family can enjoy.”

The win topped off weeks of enduring competition that provided plenty of fun for the three finalist teams. One of the highlights was taking part in a ‘mystery box’ cook off at Christchurch’s Ronald McDonald House which helped raise awareness of the charity’s need for more volunteers to assist with cooking for resident families.

Richard Brogan, Culinary Innovations Manager and MAGGI Kitchen Showdown judge says he’s delighted the winning school will be putting the money to such good use, and congratulates all the finalists and entrants for an outstanding competition this year.

“Research* we undertook earlier in the year showed us around one third of Kiwi kids cook a meal on a weekly basis, and the driving force behind the whole competition is to encourage more kids to cook by showing them how much fun it can be, with the extra element of competitiveness adding that little bit of excitement and pressure to raise the bar.

“It’s fantastic that Springbank School pupils will now have a brand new facility to develop their cooking skills and it tops off what’s been another great competition this year.”

*In conjunction with MAGGI Kitchen Showdown, 235 parents of children under the age of 15 were surveyed to find out the cooking and baking habits of NZ kids.

About MAGGI Kitchen Showdown
94 teams consisting of year 7 and 8 students entered the fourth annual MAGGI Kitchen Showdown this year. Teams were challenged to learn more about cooking and nutrition as they competed to make a well balanced meal suitable for a family of four that cost no more than $20. Teams were judged on a variety of components, from nutritional value to team work, to taste and technique.

For more information about the competition visit


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