10 UAE chefs in the finals for Taste New Zealand

The winning chef will receive a trip for two to New Zealand
Taste New Zealand finals will be held on April 26 2014.
Taste New Zealand finals will be held on April 26 2014.

Ten professional chefs from across the UAE will compete in a one-hour cook-off at The Park Hyatt Dubai as part of the Taste New Zealand finals on April 26.

The winning chef will receive a business and leisure trip for two to New Zealand, courtesy of Emirates Airline.


The finalists are: Jackson Chandranathan, commis 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, junior 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.

Entries were received from 25 chefs who submitted a pre-qualifying recipe, which featured 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 their recipe and best use of the two ingredients given.

New Zealand Trade commissioner Steve Jones 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 winner 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 Zuma executive chef Reif Othman; Emirates Airline senior vice president of aircraft catering Robin Padgett; Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management director of culinary arts Michael Kitts; chef Andy Campbell; Foodiva founder Samantha Wood; food writer and consultant Jessie Kirkness Parker; and Jones.

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.


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