Hospitality Business Magazine

New Zealand team wins International culinary competition

rsz_new_zealand_team_wins_international_culinary_competitionTwo Wellington 19 year olds competed on the world stage at the International Culinary Cooking Competition at Johnson County Community College in Kansas USA last week and took out the top prize.

Ryan Bloomfield from Wellington and Daniel Baird from the Hutt Valley spent the last ten weeks for at least 15 hours each week on top of their Patisserie course at WelTec and work (Daniel works at Taylors on Jackson in Petone and Ryan works at the Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington) training and preparing for the cooking competition. 

Ryan and Daniel travelled to Kansas to prepare a three course menu during a gruelling three and a half hour competition.  The invitation only international cooking competition saw the young students test their culinary skills against the best trainee chefs in the world. 

“I was ecstatic when we won,” says Daniel, “It was a really great feeling after so many months of hard work to take out the top prize.  When the judges read out New Zealand as the winner both Ryan and I were so surprised.”

“It’s been amazing winning the competition, but I’ve also made fantastic contacts in the hospitality industry from across the world.  After competing I now have a lot of new options for when I’ve graduated.    Competing has definitely opened up so many different and new possibilities,” says Ryan.

During the competition the students prepared a three-course menu that was served up to an American judging panel who were very impressed with the New Zealander’s work especially given the students are only 19. 

“New Zealand has now won the ICCC twice in the last four years,” says WelTec Chef Tutor Ray Morrell. “Ryan and Daniel performed exceptionally well in Kansas.  The teams from the other competing countries were very impressed with the students’ cool and calm manner as they worked their way through the menu.  The students had to cope with unfamiliar kitchens, equipment and new ingredients.  They mastered all of these challenges and were able to showcase their skills to a very high level,” says Chef Morrell.

“We had to work from a market list of ingredients and no other product could be used.  Our entrée included a salmon component, the main course comprised two cuts of beef, and the dessert featured Callebaut chocolate,” says Ryan.

Daniel who went to Hutt International Boys School (HIBS) has always had a life-long passion to become a chef.  “A huge experience,” is how he describes the competition. 

Ryan is from Westland High School in Hokitika (West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand) and chose to study at WelTec because of its national and international reputation as a centre for excellence in hospitality training.  “The competition has given me the opportunity to practice my skills and develop them

to the next level.  It’s incredibly motivating to have been given this opportunity to participate at this international competition,” says Ryan.

Scott Campbell, WelTec Chef Tutor says, “The New Zealand team showcased outstandingly high skills including tempering chocolate for their dessert and no other team attempted to do this.  Ryan and Daniel’s professional approach won them the top prize and it is well deserved.”