SKYCITY chef de partie Sheyun Chun has just been named the first-ever Australasian tapas champion, earning the honour of representing New Zealand at the World Tapas Competition in Spain next month.

Chun secured the title at the inaugural Australasian Tapas Competition, which was held at Ignite Colleges in Manukau on September 29. Eleven chefs from around the country battled it out for top place, each creating five mouth-watering tapas portions in just 25 minutes.

Chun earned 389 points for her tuna with pickled vegetables over rice crackers and creamed horseradish, wowing the panel of six judges, which included renowned Auckland-based chef Nick Honeyman, top Taiwanese fruit and vegetable carver Jeff Wu, and e-Spain CEO and founder Angel Moreton.

Hot on Chun’s heels was fellow competitor and South Auckland local Angela Scrivener who was awarded a total of 364 points for her miso-wrapped duck and mango dish – a particularly outstanding result given the fact that Scrivener is currently studying cookery at Ignite Colleges and was up against top chefs with many years of experience.

Third place getter was Millennium Hotel chef Greg Singian, who gained 332 points for his inspired abalone dish.

Moreton – a tapas connoisseur who is heavily involved in the World Tapas Competition –  said he was extremely impressed by the calibre of food created by the Kiwi chefs.

“The standard was really high, and all the contestants had an excellent understanding of the concept of tapas,” Moreton said.

“This event is really important for New Zealand cuisine because it gives your chefs the chance to compete on the world stage. Ignite Colleges made this competition happen, and in doing so, have created a golden opportunity for New Zealand culinary artists who are passionate about tapas.”

Chun will now fly to the Spanish city of Valladolid to compete against 14 other tapas chefs from around the world on November 7. She will be trained and accompanied by Ignite Colleges General Manager and NZ Chefs Auckland President Jasbir Kaur, who competed in last year’s world  competition, and has also worked in Barcelona’s Michelin-starred Disfrutar.

“I am thrilled that Ignite Colleges was able to host the first-ever Australasian Tapas Competition,” said Kaur. “This event gives chefs of all levels the chance to represent their country overseas, and it is a great opportunity for Kiwi chefs to gain international exposure.”

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