Sunday, 13 April 2014

@NZ_Global 10 of the UAE’s top chefs selected for one of the biggest yearly culinary cook offs in Dubai: Taste New Zealand

10 of the UAE’s top chefs selected for one of the biggest yearly culinary cook offs in Dubai: Taste New Zealand

Finalists to compete in a one hour cook-off at the Park Hyatt Dubai for chance to win a trip for two to New Zealand, flying Emirates

The names of the 10 professional chefs that will compete in the final cook-off of this year’s Taste New Zealand chef competition have been announced. The finalists will now prepare to compete in the cook-off on 26 April at Park Hyatt Dubai with the winning chef to receive a business and leisure trip for two to New Zealand, courtesy of Emirates Airline.

The 10 finalists are: Jackson Chandranathan, Comms II (Rhodes 44, St Regis Abu Dhabi), David Dalhaus, Sous Chef (Pierchic), Johannes Hansen, Chef de Partie (JW Marriot Marquis), Emily Herbert, Executive Chef (Ultra Brasserie), Sakeer Hussain, Jr Sous Chef (Pax Italian Restaurant, Dusit Thani), Etienne Karner, Executive Sous Chef (Park Hyatt Dubai), Prabakaran Manickam, Area Head Chef (Food Fund International), Muhammad Raees, Junior Sous Chef (St Regis Saadiyat Island), Mohd Rene Bin Mohd Johari, Sous Chef (The Rib Room, Jumeirah Emirates Towers), and Kiran Shetty, Executive Pastry Chef (Magnolia Bakery).

Twenty five chefs entered the competition by submitting a pre-qualifying recipe, which featured ingredients Abalone (known as Paua in New Zealand) and sweet potato (known as Kumara). The final 10 chefs have been selected based on the inventiveness of the recipe they submitted and best use of the two ingredients given.

Steve Jones, New Zealand Trade Commissioner, said that the calibre of chefs in this year’s competition has been impressive: “Deciding on the 10 finalists was a tough task as each entrant used the ingredients specified to create a high quality and original recipe submission. The 10 finalists are some of the finest chefs in the UAE and we are excited to see what they create at the final cook-off on 26 April to showcase New Zealand ingredients at their best.”

The final event will see the chefs battle it out in two separate cook-offs, preparing one plate in one hour using a full pantry of New Zealand ingredients which will only be revealed on the day. The first five chefs will cook at 1.30pm while the remaining five chefs will begin their cook-off at 3.30pm. The winner of this year’s Taste New Zealand culinary competition will be announced at a New Zealand themed awards night from 7pm at the Park Hyatt, Dubai that evening.

The judging panel for this year’s event includes Reif Othman, Executive Chef at ZUMA; Robin Padgett, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Catering at Emirates Airline; Michael Kitts, Director of Culinary Arts at Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management; celebrity chef Andy Campbell; Samantha Wood, founder of the ‘FooDiva’ blog; Jessie Kirkness Parker, food writer and consultant; and Steve Jones, New Zealand Trade Commissioner.

Organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the New Zealand Government’s international business development agency, the Taste New Zealand chef 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.

For more information about the competition and finalists, including their entry recipes, please visit

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