Hospitality Business Magazine

Winners in New Zealand’s Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2015 announced

rsz_vege_winner_bolton_hotel_maclean_fraserThree Kiwi chefs have sliced and diced, sautéed and salted their way to the top of New Zealand’s premier vegetable competition.

The winners of the New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2015, a national competition that celebrates the very best of fresh New Zealand grown vegetables, were announced today.

The winners of the New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2015 are:


MacLean Fraser: Artisan Restaurant, The Bolton Hotel, Wellington

Kumara, roast corn and chick pea salad with whipped chèvre, smoky eggplant and Ras el Hanout caramel.

Judge, Geoff Scott’s comments:

“Great creative use of vegetables and flavour combinations, smoky eggplant & goat cheese balanced with sweet kumara and spiced caramel – very clever!”


Marc Soper, Wharekauhau Country Estate, Palliser Bay, Featherston

Salt baked celery root, braised endive, potato fennel mousse, textures of winter vegetables, vadouvan spiced granola

Judge, Geoff Scott’s comments:

“A superbly delicate artistic presentation with great use of techniques and a high level of skills demonstrated.  An excellent use of celeriac and the dish really delivered on interesting vegetable textures.”


Simon Green, Trinity Wharf, Tauranga

Confit baby potato, cauliflower mousse with Autumn baby vegetables

Judge, Geoff Scott’s comments:

“It is wonderful to see the potato as the hero of this dish with a humble delicate cauliflower mousse alongside.  Very well constructed and balanced with textural crunch, spice and depth of flavour.  A superb dish made with simple everyday vegetables.”

Geoff Scott, Chef and owner, Vinnies restaurant, said this year’s innovative entries really showcased the true potential of vegetables. “It is great to see the variety of vegetables used to make up the dishes, all with careful consideration for textural contrast, nutritional value and balance.  New and exciting styles of presentation are apparent with some previously overlooked vegetables getting their chance to shine, says Geoff.

“Diners are looking for at least one high quality vegetarian offering as a starter and main course and gluten free, diary free and vegan dishes are considered a must in any professional kitchen.  The challenge is for chefs to have not just their vegetarian dishes perfectly considered but all their accompanying vegetables as ‘heroes’ on the plate.  We are fortunate to have a fabulous choice of vegetables available so let’s make the most of it.”

Now in its fourth year, the New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge, sponsored by foodservice and hospitality distributor, Bidvest, Choice Catering Equipment and, attracted more than 200 entries.   

The three winners each receive a New Zealand Vegetarian Dish winner plate, a Samsung 1100w-semi commercial programmable microwave and an Air New Zealand mystery weekend voucher worth $1200.