UAE Chefs invited to compete in ‘Taste New Zealand’ Culinary Competition

February 11, 2014 10:20 am

New Zealand is to showcase the best of its food produce in the UAE with the second annual Taste New Zealand competition for professional chefs, which launched today at ZUMA.

Organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the New Zealand Government’s international business development agency, the competition aims to raise awareness of the diversity and quality of New Zealand food and drink products available in the UAE among participating chefs as well as buyers, food service and retail industry leaders.

Taste New Zealand is open to all professional chefs based in the UAE, and challenges them to create imaginative dishes that showcase New Zealand produce at its best – including seafood, red meat, dairy and specialty products such as honey. The competition will culminate in a final cook-off on Saturday 26 April in front of a judging panel of some of the best known names in UAE food circles who will judge the chefs on their ability to turn New Zealand ingredients into exciting cuisine that makes an impact.

The confirmed judges are: Reif Othman, Executive Chef, ZUMA; Michael Kitts, Director of Culinary Arts, Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management; celebrity chef Andy Campbell; Samantha Wood, founder of the ‘FooDiva’ blog; Jessie Kirkness Parker, food writer and consultant; and New Zealand Trade Commissioner and Consul-General, Steve Jones.

“Our inaugural Taste New Zealand competition last year was a huge success, giving chefs the opportunity to experiment and get creative with the wide variety of ingredients that New Zealand offers,” said Steve Jones, New Zealand Trade Commissioner and Consul-General. “We have made a few changes to this year’s competition and we hope the 2014 competition will be even bigger. This year, finalists will be given a range of New Zealand ingredients to develop one plate in one hour, truly testing their creativity and ability show off New Zealand ingredients and really wow the judges.”

Mr Jones continued, “New Zealand has a strong trade relationship with the UAE, particularly in the food sector, which accounted for 87% of the value of the top 20 exports from New Zealand to the UAE in 2013. Events like Taste New Zealand mark the growing presence of New Zealand companies across the UAE’s professional food sector and the investment that we are making into raising the profile of our varied food and drink produce.”

Chefs can register their interest in the competition at Entries for the competition will open in March 2014. To enter the competition, chefs will be required to submit a pre-qualifying recipe using New Zealand ingredients. Ten finalists will be selected to go on to the final cook-off on 26 April 2014 and the winner will be announced at a BBQ cocktail dinner that same day. The winner will receive a trip to New Zealand to experience first-hand the country’s food, lifestyle, culture and tourism.

Media contacts:
Dana Findlay
Regional Marketing and Communications Manager – India, Middle East and Africa
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
Phone: +971 056 175 7090

Aindreas Doyle
Phone: +971 56 665 2045