South Island regional winner, Chef Jamie Jackson at the Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat competition, held at the Ara Institute of Canterbury on June 8.

Talented young chefs from throughout the South Island met at the 2021 Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award competition on June 8 for the chance to ignite their culinary careers, and Christchurch Chef Jamie Jackson of East Block Hospitality Group, has proven the winner.

Jackson picked up a Silver medal for his efforts at the competition, held at the Ara Institute of Canterbury, securing a trip to Sydney in September where he will represent the South Island in the grand finals of the awards. He also won an award for his video entry. Last year, Jackson was awarded a Bronze medal after competing in a virtual cook-off for the same event.

Jackson created a two-course menu comprising a main of roasted chicken with a kumara croquette, carrot puree, broccolini and herb oil split jus.  Dessert consisted of fermented black pepper and chocolate cremeux, caramelized white chocolate and citrus. The judging panel scored him and the 10 other competitors against globally recognised culinary standards.

Aged just 23 years, Jackson works for the popular Christchurch based East Block Hospitality Group established in 2017.

Chef Jamie Jackson.

He is now gearing up to battle against a New Zealand North Island winner and other top young chefs from Australia at Fine Food Australia in Sydney in September. One winner will take out Golden Chef of the Year and a $10,000 cash prize.

Executive Chef and Nestlé Professional head judge Mark Clayton says, “It’s never been more important to come together to support our industry, inspire young talent and provide key skills for them to succeed in their careers.

“We’re excited to be back to live chef-to-chef cook-offs for 2021, giving young chefs the opportunity to showcase their cooking skills and be rated against their peers,”

“This Award is about pushing yourself to be a better chef. It’s a chance for young chefs to step outside their comfort zone and challenge themselves. Jamie really showcased his cooking passion on the plates and delivered standout dishes.”

As Australia’s longest running culinary competition for young chefs, the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award is now in its 56th year, supporting top emerging culinary talent on both sides of the Tasman.

Eleven chefs from around the South Island each created a two-course menu, (main and dessert dishes) in the live kitchen cook off.

The award supports top emerging culinary talent and kick starts their careers. Stay up to date on Facebook @goldenchefs and Instagram @golden_chefs

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