All the news and past information for the National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge (NSSCC) and New Zealand Culinary Journey (NZCJ)


NSSCC 2019 grand finale winners

Image: Illsa folau and Alyssa King with teacher, Will Cawkwell

NSSCC is the most prestigious Secondary School competition in New Zealand. Regional finals are held throughout New Zealand and the winners from these competitions compete in the national final. This year, the national final and Awards dinner were held at NZMA, Mt Wellington, Auckland.
For the competition, teams prepared four individually plated entrées and main dishes within 90 minutes. The entrée had to contain New Zealand grown carrots as the principal ingredient. The main had to include kūmara, yams or parsnip as the starch, at least two other New Zealand grown vegetables and Waitoa chicken breast.

The Chief Judge was Chef Mark Wylie, National Account Sales Manager, Southern Hospitality. Other members of the judging panel were; Fiona Ruane, Executive Chef, SkyCity; Craig Lucas, Senior Chef Lecturer, MIT; Gareth Stewart, Executive Chef, Nourish Group; Jeremy Schmid, Chef/Owner, The Officers Mess, Fort Takapuna; Liam Fox, Chef/Owner, Fort Greene, Auckland; Nancy Pirini, Executive Chef, Auckland Airport Novotel and Chris Goodison, Chef Tutor at NZMA.
Each finalist received an invitation to the Awards dinner, some with their parents as guests, overnight accommodation and a place on the NZ Culinary Journey the day after the competition. The winners received a winner’s plaque and a winner’s prize pack valued at over $500. The winning school received a $1,000 Bidfood voucher, a Blue Seal oven and stand valued at over $7,000 and a $300 restaurant voucher.

Four starter packs were offered to students to assist with equipment for their Hospitality studies in 2020. These were won by Matt Kennedy, Timaru Boys High School, Nikita Dyer, Wellington High School, and Ilisa Folau and Alysee King both from Te Awamutu College. These were awarded for skills shown throughout the competition.

There were four gold medals and three silver medals awarded and the highest gold medal was the winner – Te Awamutu College.

The winning entrée was Dukkah crusted carrot falafel with vibrant carrot purée, pickled carrot, smoked feta and tahini sauce. Their main dish was Pancetta wrapped chicken breast stuffed with black garlic, blackened leek, kūmara purée, trio of winter greens and a kimich wonton.
Chief Judge Mark Wylie said he was “very impressed by the professionalism shown by all the competing teams. The competition continues to evolve, and the culinary standards reach new heights every year. Folau and King’s winning dishes showcased contemporary, modern presentation and consistency across each plate served to the team of judges.”

The event is sponsored by, Bidfood, 5+ A day, Moffat, NZ Chefs, Service IQ, Southern Hospitality and Waitoa chicken. Special thanks to NZMA for their wonderful hospitality.

The teams and teachers and the medal they won:

Auckland Region – Kamo High School won a Silver medal
Raivyn-Skye Tangariki-Pou and Daniel Hulse, Teacher – Janelle Mckenzie
Canterbury Region – Timaru Boys High School won a Gold medal
Matt Kennedy and Callum Bowar, Teacher – Megan Blake
Hawkes Bay Region – Napier Girls High School won a Gold medal
Phoebe Laugesen and Sophie Downing, Teacher – Rachel Pollet
Otago/Southland – Kings High School, Dunedin won a Silver medal
Nickolas Bryan and Manaia Thomas-Coleman, Teacher – Duncan McLean
Taranaki Region – New Plymouth Boys High School won a Gold medal
Jamie Ung and Lachie Smith, Teacher – Adrienne Roberts
Waikato Region – Te Awamutu College won a Gold medal
Illsa folau and Alyssa King, Teacher – Will Cawkwell
Wellington Region – Wellington High School won a Silver medal
Nikita Dyer and Euliz Samson, Teacher – Bob Naylor


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