Rotorua chef, Samantha Warena, has been named winner of the North Island Regional live cook-off heat in the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award, held at Ignite College in Auckland.

Samantha won a Silver medal for her culinary skills and will go on to represent the North Island at the grand finals of the 2021 Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award competition, to be held in Sydney, during September.

Samantha created a two-course menu comprising a main of seared ginger stuffed sous vide chicken breast, a braised chicken lollipop on sweet potato puree and vegetables.

Dessert was a chilli infused chocolate mousse on a crispy orange shortbread, served with spiced rhubarb. The judging panel scored her and the other competitors against globally recognised culinary standards.

Nineteen year old Warena, who works for Skyline Rotorua, joins South Island region winner, Chef Jamie Jackson as they get ready to battle against each other and top young Australian chefs. A live cook-off will be held at the Fine Food Australia trade show and the winner will take out the Golden Chef of the Year title 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.

“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. Samantha really showcased her 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 and kick starting their careers. Stay up to date on Facebook @goldenchefs and Instagram @golden_chefs

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