Ara staff in top placing NZChefs National Team

News News & events

04 May 2018

Members of the NZChefs National Team, Ara staff members Stuart Goodall, Mark Sycamore and Steve Le Corre can add another string to their bow, for placing second in the FHA Culinary Challenge in Singapore.

This is the fourth time New Zealand has competed in the FHA Challenge, but the first time that the team has made the final three of the prestigious competition. The final challenge, The Battle of the Lion, took place on Saturday 28 April, and required the top teams to get creative with a list of interesting ingredients.

“We had to use salmon, mussels and scallops for the entrée, beef rump and beef cheeks for the main course, and coconut and strawberry for the dessert,” team Caption and Ara chef tutor Mark Sycamore said. “Overall I think with the final challenge we were really happy with what we cooked, especially with it being a mystery box.”

Hard work at the Team NZ table at the FHA Culinary Challenge in Singapore paid off with a silver medal placing.

To get into the final the team had to score highly in two other elements of the competition: a cold table of 25 glazed dishes, and a live ‘hot kitchen’ cook-off, in which they had to produce a three-course dinner for 85 guests.

Sycamore was delighted with how his team performed. “I think our cold table was the best quality one we’ve ever done. Unfortunately, we still did not get a gold for that, but the marking was quite tough. Also the judges said that the duck main course we cooked in hot kitchen was the best main course that they’d had all week.”

This year the New Zealand team had a new dynamic with a few fresh faces coming on board to compete.

“We did have a few new team members this year, but we also have a number of experienced chefs who have been in the team for a while and stepped up to lead. Darren Wright of Chillingworth Road Restaurant is the Platinum Beef + Lamb NZ Ambassador, and has lots of experience in meat cookery, I’ve done a lot of seafood dishes in the past, and Steve from Timaru campus is a good all round chef but he has some good pastry skills too,” Sycamore said.

“We were very happy with how we performed. We were under control, we served everything on time, and our food looked good. We just got beaten by a better team unfortunately.”