Press Release – Vegetables.co.nz
Colour, inspiration, style and customer-appeal were all features in the winning dishes from this years New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge. Run by vegetables.co.nz and food distributor Bidvest, the competition aimed to find the best vegetarian dishes …Chefs Wow With Creative Vegetable Dishes
Colour, inspiration, style and customer-appeal were all features in the winning dishes from this year’s New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge.
Run by vegetables.co.nz and food distributor Bidvest, the competition aimed to find the best vegetarian dishes in New Zealand.
The competition attracted 200 vegetarian dish entries from some of the country’s top chefs and caterers. It was judged by Glenn Fulcher (NZ Manager for City and Guilds of London), Chef Andy Gibb (Chef Tutor at Nanyang Polytechnic , Singapore), Adrian Brett-Chinnery (Group Development Chef, Tanoa Hotel Group, Fiji) and Michael Newlands (Head Chef, Bracu Restaurant, Auckland).
Judge Andy Gibb said all the finalists’ recipes were outstanding.
“There was great thinking outside the box with seasonal vegetables. Good technical skills and some nice earthy flavours showed excellent creativity and innovation. The recipes would work in any commercial kitchen,” said Chef Gibb.
A Vegan trio of breakfast delights saw Jeanette Brough from the Arrowtown House Boutique Hotel take out the Breakfast category. Judges commented that “it was great to see gazpacho and bubble and squeak back in vogue again. Using the root vegetable in the muffin was very seasonal”.
Wellington’s Wellesley Boutique Hotel head chef Marc Soper won the Lunch category with his twice- baked roast pumpkin and cheddar soufflé with winter vegetable salad and walnut soil. Judges noted that there were “lots of good technical skills with the soufflé, and that the beetroot gel and walnut soil made for a very seasonal vegetable salad”.
The Dinner/Fine Dining category was won by Cobar Restaurant’s Davey Howarth. The Wellington chef prepared carrot ravioli with spinach, vegetable roulade, beetroot infused tofu, carrot puree and potato and parsley crisps. Comments included that there was “great colour on the plate, a good use of winter vegetables and fresh flavour in the roulade. A good infused beetroot tofu”.
In its second year, the NZ Vegetarian Dish Challenge is designed to encourage chefs and caterers to be creative with vegetables.
Vegetables.co.nz Food Service Consultant Pip Duncan said plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular and important to many people.
“Increasingly, chefs and caterers are being asked for vegetarian options for lunches, pass rounds, snacks and meals, so this challenge was a good chance for them to put forward their best vegetarian meal ideas,” she said.
“Vegetables.co.nz promotes fresh New Zealand grown vegetables. Over the last few years we have had a major focus on hospitality and food service, and as a result we are certainly seeing far more fresh New Zealand-grown vegetables take centre-stage on chefs’ plates these days.”
Bidvest Foodservice Marketing spokesperson Candice Baker said the company operates seven dedicated fresh distribution centres throughout New Zealand and has integrated fresh produce distribution into all its other branches.
“Bidvest recognises the importance of fresh vegetables and the increasing popularity in healthy eating choices by consumers. Through our service we encourage the hospitality sector to provide these choices to customers,” said Candice.
Each category winner received a $1200 Air NZ Mystery Weekend Travel Voucher, an ipad Mini and a NZ Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2013 Winner Plate.
Marc Soper won the lunch category