More than 150 guests descended upon Ignite Colleges in Manukau, venue for this year’s NZ Chefs Association AGM. Festivities kicked off with a cooking demonstration from The Hunting Lodge executive chef and former Chef of the Year Des Harris, who wowed attendees with his mouthwatering cardamom-infused rack of lamb.
Zhiqi Zhou (Oscar) from Noisette Chocolats & Patisseries provided another sweet spot to the evening with a cake making demonstration and tasting session. Oscar has a string of accolades behind her – she was a member of the 2010 Pastry Team of the Year at the NZ Culinary Fare, was awarded Best Cakes in the Best of Metro 2012, and in 2014 she designed and served the Chinese Premiere’s wife’s birthday cake at Government House.
For Ignite Colleges General Manager and NZ Chefs Association Auckland President Jasbir Kaur, the event was a great way to unite industry professionals across all stages of their careers, for mentoring, networking and inspiration.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to bring together chefs of today and tomorrow,” she said.
“At Ignite Colleges we prepare our students to become the very best in their chosen fields, and for our cookery and hospitality students that means networking with and learning from award-winning chefs and hospitality professionals, and teaming up with artisan producers who create some of the country’s finest produce.”
Ignite culinary arts students showed off their skills, creating innovative fare for guests including kingfish ceviche (with lemon, kawakawa and hibiscus and ginger tea granita), prawn kawakawa, grated potato cakes (with horopito rubbed lamb rump, walnut sable and pikopiko), and creamy mushroom fettucine. Dessert included lemon and green tea macaroons with matcha ice cream, and mochi with turmeric ice cream. Artisan ingredients were provided by NZ Premium Foods, Gluten Free Store, PAUSE for Tea, and Coconut WaHiki Creamery.
While Ignite’s cookery students were whipping up a storm in the kitchen, hospitality students put on a show behind the bar, creating spectacular cocktails inspired by PAUSE for Tea’s sugar-free organic sparkling tea range, and serving an array of ciders they had brewed themselves.
“Ignite Colleges students are supported by some of the industry’s biggest names and brands. We prepare our cookery students to think like real chefs, so it is very important for them to have opportunities like this to play with ingredients and unleash their creativity on discerning palates. This is the way aspiring chefs learn to design award winning dishes in the future.”