New Zealand Culinary Journey

NZCJ 2022 Sponsors

We would like to thank the following amazing businesses for their support with our future industry professionals



The New Zealand Culinary Journey was created to give students a taste of life in the world of a professional chef. Organised by the New Zealand Culinary Development Trust, and supported by the Hospitality Industry, this event provides students the chance to meet some of New Zealand's top chefs, ask questions and watch them at work. Students also get the opportunity to take a tour of one of New Zealand's largest hotel hospitality operations, taste some of the best food in the country, and talk to food and hospitality professionals to get real insight into this challenging and satisfying profession.

2021 NZCJ

The National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge Grand Final and the New Zealand Culinary Journey were cancelled on 24 August 2021 due to the continued uncertainty around lock down levels and the need to plan for COVID 19 enforced travel and event restrictions.

This was sad news especially for the competitors, teachers and team trainers who had worked hard to prepare for the national final. The Culinary Arts Development Trust wishes all competitors the very best with their future careers in hospitality.

2019 Highlights

The morning was hosted by Chef Steve Roberts at Moffat, where students enjoyed a cooked breakfast and tour/education of commercial kitchen equipment.

Following breakfast, students gained valuable insight into two Bidfood production sites – Meat Processing and Prepared Produce. Students witnessed first hand how fruit, vegetables and meat are processed by Bidfood staff and state of the art machinery.

Lunchtime saw the students change venue to enjoy a specially-prepared lunch at the SkyCity convention city. With a variety of themed food stations, students were treated to dish after dish of delicacies from the kitchen. During the lunch, students met previous competition winners, including previous winner Sam Heaven, who has completed his first year of a three-year apprenticeship at SkyCity.

Sam prepared a masterclass for the students – Plating two delicious desserts – and he showed the students plating techniques he had learnt from other well known chefs.

Working his way through an apprenticeship which he hopes will result in the opportunity for him to work in some of New Zealand's top kitchens, Sam said that winning the competition, and taking advantage of the support given to him by the Culinary Arts Trust, had given him a significant career boost

“Winning the National Secondary Schools Culinary Competition has changed my life, absolutely,” said Sam. “I’ve been given a start that I don’t think I’d ever have had if I hadn’t won. It’s the best thing I ever did, and I’d encourage anyone thinking about a career in hospitality to have a go.” Sam currently works in the production kitchen and aims to graduate to some of SkyCity’s top-level restaurants like The Sugar Club.

Before this wonderful and exciting day came to a close, the students and their tutors toured the impressive kitchens in the SkyCity complex. It was a fitting end for the inaugural New Zealand Culinary Journey.

The 2021 Culinary Journey will take place following the Grand Final of the National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge in September 2021. 

2018 New Zealand Culinary Journey

Highlights of the journey included:

MG Marketing
A tour of this leading produce wholesaler with Jerry Prendecost and Carmel Ireland from 5+ A Day.

NZMA is a private tertiary provider in Mt Wellington, Auckland. They provided the group with a tasty breakfast followed by workshops on cheese and fish.

Lunch was at Spice, Sky City, with Sky City's Director of Kitchens Chef Paul Hoeps and sponsors.

This was followed by a tour of SkyCity's many kitchens with Chef Stephen Thompson.

The NZCJ finished at 3pm to allow time for travel to the airport for flights or for transport home.

The Culinary Journey was sponsored by Bidfood, 5 + A Day, Service IQ, Southern Hospitality and

Photo's of the New Zealand Culinary Journey 2017

The 2017 NZCJ started with a Master Class held at AUT with Renny, Senior Lecturer, showing a story of the humble 'Apple'. 

The NSSCC regional winners were then lucky enough to hear from some of Auckland's culinary legends. They told their stories, life as a chef and what would help these guys become the future stars.

They then headed into the kitchen for a hands on demo, trying out the latest industry skills.

Lunch at Sky City was next, with a catch up with last years winner, who is now doing a City & Guilds Apprenticeship with Sky City. After lunch, we toured the Sky City Facilities and got a taste of the volume and all the outlets they operate daily. 

For more photos head to Facebook


This product has been added to your cart