Hospitality Business Magazine

Talented female chefs lineup for Wellington awards

It’s an all-star female lineup for this year’s Lumina Rising Stars with chefs Lizzie Rogers of Atlas, Courtenay Charles of 50-50, and Sian Davies of Olive named for the 2023 awards programme dedicated to Wellington-based chefs.

Now in its second year, the Lumina Rising Stars programme aims to nurture young chefs at the start of their career. It is run in partnership with Visa Wellington On a Plate, with industry support from Lumina, New Zealand’s premier lamb producer and exporter. 

Visa Wellington On a Plate Festival Director, Sarah Meikle says supporting young chefs in Wellington’s local culinary scene is crucial for a healthy local industry long-term.

 “It’s also really encouraging to see such a strong female lineup in the talent coming through. Cheffing has been a traditionally male dominated space, and I am thrilled to see these talented young women choose cheffing as a career and making their mark.”

Chefs aged 18-25 years old from across the Wellington region were called on to apply for the skills training and development programme, with shortlisted chefs asked to submit a Lumina lamb-based dish for the final assessment.

Judges considered how well the applicants demonstrated their skills, knowledge and creativity through this cooking-based competition. This included assessing finalists on their recipe development, how well they were able to tell a story with their ingredients, and presentation of their dish. 

Lumina Brand Ambassador MacLean Fraser says the young chefs showed creativity with the use of interesting flavour combinations, techniques, and ingredients such as tamarillo powder and smoking to accompany the lamb which shone as the hero on the plate.

“It was great to see many of the chefs using foraged ingredients, and putting a lot of thought into recipe development and use of ingredients to minimise waste with some beautifully presented dishes on show.”

“The top applicants were able to bring all these elements together which gives me a lot of confidence that we have a significant talent pool of up and coming chefs whose careers I look forward to following,” he says. 

“Visa has been a proud partner of Visa Wellington On a Plate since 2009, and we are excited by the continued opportunities to inspire and uplift emerging young talent across the country. Congratulations to the women in this year’s lineup,” said Natalie Lockwood, Head of Marketing for Visa Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific.

The 2022 Rising Stars were Benny Forshaw from Charley Noble Eatery and Bar, Jacob Spackman from Kisa, Ben McKenzie from Ortega Fish Shack & Bar, Chinar Raut from Field & Green, and Kritika Mahajan from Shepherd.