Keven Dunseth is a former Wintec Hospitality student who returned to judge this year's Waikato Culinary Fare.


​Knives flashed and the concentration was intense as 523 secondary students from 32 schools sliced, diced and iced their way through the 2019 Waikato Culinary Fare competition at Wintec.
Students travelled from across the Waikato and as far as Auckland, Whitianga and Taupō to spend two days competing in live events at Waikato Culinary Fare which is now New Zealand’s biggest regional hospitality competition.

Hamilton Girls’ High School took out the Waikato Top School award, while Te Awamutu College took home the Regional Finals National Secondary School Culinary Challenge Team award and first year Wintec Culinary Arts student Ziyi (Zane) Lee was awarded Novotel Tainui Hamilton – Junior Hospitality Student Waikato.

Waikato Culinary Fare Trust co-organiser and Wintec Hospitality Manager, Peter Radojkovich says the unsung heroes on the day are the food technology teachers.

“Hats off to our food tech teachers – they do an amazing job of coaching, supporting and giving their students the confidence to cook well in a live competition. It’s our teachers who are guiding their students to develop their talent and be successful.

“The quality of entries was really high. We saw cakes that looked and tasted like they came from top patisseries and pizzas, burgers and mains that would draw high praise on a restaurant or café menu. You would not have thought they were made by intermediate and secondary school students.”

Cater Plus Chief Executive Paul Hodge says the many industry people who took two days out to support the event were pivotal to its success.

“The Trust is grateful for the ongoing sponsorship by the hospitality industry and the support of industry people in assisting with the task of judging, we couldn’t stage an event of this size without them.”

A number of former Wintec staff and students also returned to judge Waikato Culinary Fare.
Wintec’s Amy Opperman, a former hospitality tutor who returned to judge this year, said the level of skill in the secondary school events was “mind-blowing”.

“The students this year were so skilful,” said Amy. “The judges were honestly quite blown away with the students’ talent.”

Auckland’s Massey High School teams took up residence for three days at Wintec’s Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa Marae. After being welcomed with a pōwhiri, the students wasted no time and got a head start preparing for the Fare in the wharekai (marae kitchen).

As well as cupcake decoration, innovative challenges included creative pizzas, Māori kai and cocktails along with knife-skills, mystery box challenges and a table-setting competition. This year the mystery box challenge attracted a record 37 teams (of two). The chicken main, pizza and hamburger challenges were so popular, extra heats were added – perhaps an indication of what students like to eat most.

The competition aims to encourage and nurture future chefs. The Fare, which is run under the Waikato Culinary Fare Trust, is a partnership between Wintec School of Hospitality and Cater Plus.

The National Secondary Schools Culinary Competition (NSSCC) also took place alongside Waikato Culinary Fare and Te Awamutu College student Ilisa Folau won the Waikato competition with her dish, dukkah crusted carrot falafel which featured a vibrant carrot puree, pickled carrot, smoked feta and tahini sauce.

The full list of winners are:

Class description Medal Name School
Cup Cakes Secondary School Culinary Gold Heidi Stewart Epsom Girls Grammar School
Finger Food Platter – Junior Silver Ziyi Li Wintec
Cold Dessert Secondary School Culinary Gold Carol Hu Waikato Diocesan School for Girls
Cold Dessert Junior Bronze Ziyi Li Wintec
Savoury Pie – Secondary School Culinary Silver Brooke Moore Tauhara College Taupo
Cold Entree – Junior Silver Manon Rahain Waihi College
Café Cake – Secondary School Culinary Gold with Distinction Danielle Garnier Sacred Hearts Girls College
Café Cake – Junior Gold Blake Hassall MCA Cookery Programme
Cup Cakes – Intermediate School Year 7 and 8 Gold Emma Walmsley Maeroa Intermediate
Mystery Box Secondary School Culinary Gold Jenny Im & Jennifer Chhouk Epsom Girls Grammar School
WNSSCC Regional Event Gold Ilisa Folau Te Awamutu College
Creative Savoury Pizza – Secondary Schools Culinary Silver Benjamin Donovan Hamilton Boys High School
Magic Box Team Event Junior – Year 1 Silver Ziyi Li & Vincent Morrice Wintec
Creative Burger – Secondary School Culinary Silver Brooke Moore Tauhara College Taupo
Creative Burger – Junior Silver Vincent Morrice Wintec
Soup Dish – Secondary School Culinary Gold Olivia Moore Tauhara College Taupo
Soup Dish Junior Year 1 Bronze Vincent Morrice Wintec
Salmon Dish – Secondary School Culinary Gold Brooke Moore Tauhara College Taupo
Healthy Lunch – Secondary School Culinary Silver Eva Griffin-Jones Otumoetai College
Main Course – Junior Silver Ziyi Li Wintec
Magic Box Team Event Junior – Year 2 Silver Rhys Raquedan & Angelique Moyle Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology
Pasta Dish Junior Merit Ziyi Li Wintec
Chicken Dish – Secondary School Culinary Gold Brooke Moore Tauhara College Taupo
Salmon Dish – Junior Bronze Kartik Tanwar Wintec
Creative Table Setting – Secondary School Culinary Acknowledgement of Participation Martine Erasmus Rototuna Junior High School
Barista – Secondary School Culinary Gold Tayla Malone John Paul College
Non-Alcoholic Cocktail – Secondary School Culinary Gold Tayla Malone John Paul College


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