Hospitality Business Magazine

Finalists in New Zealand’s Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2015 announced

vege_dish_maclean_fraser-bolton_hotel-brunchThey’ve come a long way from their boiled cousins of yesteryear.  Potato fennel mousse, cumin carrot puree and root vegetable dauphinoise are just some of the tantalising tastes featuring in this year’s New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge.

As plant based diets continue to grow in popularity, popular Kiwi chefs have sharpened their knives for this year’s premier vegetable competition.

The New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge is a national competition that celebrates the very best of fresh New Zealand grown vegetables, attracting more than 200 entries from chefs across the three categories of breakfast/brunch, lunch and dinner/fine dining.

Competition organiser and food services consultant, Pip Duncan of, said chefs are being challenged to deliver imaginative and tasty vegetable dishes on a daily basis, and not just for dinner. “With a growing number of people choosing to eat a plant based diet as well as those who just want to try new ways with vegetables, chefs are being called upon to create imaginative and tasty vegetable dishes. Increasingly chefs are being asked for vegetarian options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Head judge, Mark Wylie, general manager, Cater Plus Services said “the high level of creativity and thought put into all the entrants’ dishes was impressive. The nine finalists showed a variety of technical skills and interesting combinations of vegetables and diverse flavours, beautifully showcasing New Zealand’s fresh produce.”

Judging the final winners of each category will be Geoff Scott, Chef and owner, Vinnies restaurant,  Catherine Milford, editor, Food magazine and Chef Andy Gibb, Chef Tutor at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore.

The three winners, announced in July, will each be awarded a New Zealand Vegetarian Dish winner plate, a Samsung 1100w-semi commercial programmable microwave and an Air New Zealand mystery weekend voucher worth $1200.

The finalists of the New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2015 are: 


Kaylin Thomson: one80degrees Restaurant, Copthorne Hotel, Oriental Bay, Wellington
Kumara and orange cake, cumin carrot puree, gremolata cavalo nero, poached egg and Sauce Maltaise

MacLean Fraser: Artisan Restaurant, The Bolton Hotel, Wellington
Kumara, roast corn and chick pea salad with whipped chèvre, smoky eggplant and Ras el Hanout caramel.

Luke McGowan, Dough Bros, Hamilton
Butternut pumpkin pizza with fresh goats’ curd, pesto, pinenuts and micro greens 


Michael Rylie: Clive River Bar Restaurant, Clive, Hastings
Courgette, onion and orange salad (raw vegan dish)

Cory Tappin: Rosebank Estate Winery, Christchurch
Root vegetable dauphinoise, capsicum coulis and bean salad

Marc Soper, Wharekauhau Country Estate, Palliser Bay, Featherston
Salt baked celery root, braised endive, potato fennel mousse, textures of winter vegetables, vadouvan spiced granola 


Cole Falloon, Wharekauhau Country Estate, Palliser Bay, Featherston
Kumara Flan with Potato and Leek galette, orange salad and pickled vegetables 

Simon Green, Trinity Wharf, Tauranga
Confit baby potato, cauliflower mousse with Autumn baby vegetables

Eugene Sokolovski, Ribier Restaurant, Huapai,
Chestnut, grilled eggplant and dukkha timbale, kumara and coconut puree, kumara fondant, and young vegetables fantasy