Cooking competition keeps Auckland’s budding chefs on toes

28 Mar 2017
Eye on Nature 2016 Winners. Team members: Keeha Riley, Deanna Stubbs, and Raina Karan. (Teacher Mrs A Thomson)

On April 1, our budding chefs will demonstrate their skills in the ‘From the Ground to the Table’ cooking competition.

Last year we won…

This Years Theme & Details

‘Edibles: From the Ground to the Table’, which encourages kids to opt for sustainable solutions at home and school.

Eye On Nature is run by the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust and held at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa.


By stuff.co.nz, Kymberlee Fernandes

The season of competitions for the students of South Auckland is only getting fiercer. Polyfest, Pasifika, and now a cooking competition at Eye on Nature.

On April 1, budding chefs from Otahuhu College, Alfriston College, Botany Downs Secondary College, Saint Kentigern College and Aorere College will demonstrate their skills in the ‘From the Ground to the Table’ cooking competition.

The three winners will receive $1000, $500 and $250 respectively.

Students have to design a dish using produce only from New Zealand’s gardens.

They will be put through their paces in a Masterchef-style cook-off. The senior students must prepare, cook and serve their dishes in front of a live audience.

From Otahuhu College, Yamni Raj who is passionate about cooking is participating to showcase her talent.

“I want to learn skills from cooking under pressure to help me become a chef,” she says.

She plans to stand out by cooking a family recipe that reflects her Fijian-Indian background and presenting it on a banana leaf.

The students of Aorere College will also be following their recipes closely and are aiming for precise timing.

Kimura Logan, 15, is making sure she does everything properly, “getting the right balance of flavour and showing good presentation skills”.

They are being steered by Milomir Marinovic, hospitality and catering assistant teacher at Aorere College.

Marinovic says when youngsters cook, it helps them develop a social responsibility because you “always cook for you and someone else”.

“Many of our pupils need to be able to support their families and this is one task when they can show their competence and understanding,” he says.

He has noticed a trend in students showing an interest in hospitality.

Judging the competition are Brian Wallace, senior lecturer for professional cookery at Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT); Henry Spence, chef lecturer at MIT; Sarah Goonan, Fuel4Life programme manager at Heart Foundation and Renny Apera, senior chef lecturer patisserie and practical cookery at Auckland University of Technology.

Aprea will have a close eye on preparation skills, cooking control, understanding of the process, working clean and safe, and serve appetising dishes.

Students should avoid “working at a messy work station and using incorrect tools for the job,” he says.

He has been a chef for close to 47 years and advises that they keep communicating throughout the competition.

Eye On Nature is run by the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust and held at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa.

It starts from March 28 and concludes with a free family day on April 1.

The theme for 2017 is ‘Edibles: From the Ground to the Table‘, which encourages kids to opt for sustainable solutions at home and school.

˜ Stuff

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