Taste New Zealand 2014 was an adrenaline fuelled and glamorous affair, with Prabakaran Manickam, Area Head Chef for Food Fund International announced as the winner of this year’s culinary competition at a New Zealand themed awards evening at the Park Hyatt, Dubai on Saturday 26 April 2014.
Chef Prabakaran won the competition following a cook-off earlier in the day where 10 finalist chefs prepared one dish in one hour, using a range of mystery New Zealand ingredients, which were revealed on the day.
New Zealand Trade Commissioner and competition judge Steve Jones, said that all 10 chefs impressed on the day:
“This is a demanding competition that culminated in a high-stress cook-off, where all chefs took some risks, with many using new and unfamiliar products. I congratulate all of them for being open to the challenge, and for helping to make this competition such as success.
“Chef Prabakaran’s dish, featuring Firstlight Venison French Rack encrusted with pistachio, impressed the judges in a number of ways, but particularly its texture and flavour.
“I congratulate Chef Prabakaran on winning this competition, and we look forward to hosting him in New Zealand later this year. I have no doubt that this trip will benefit his career as well as offering him an experience to remember.”
The Taste New Zealand chef competition awards evening was attended by over 350 guests, who enjoyed New Zealand food, beverage and traditional haka performances throughout the evening. The winner was announced by New Zealand Trade Minister, Tim Groser.
As the winner of the now annual event, Chef Prabakaran will travel on a business and leisure trip to New Zealand later this year along with a guest, courtesy of Emirates Airline, where he will visit a range of New Zealand food and beverage producers.
The competition was judged by some of the UAE’s best known food professionals: Reif Othman, Executive Chef at ZUMA; Robin Padgett, Senior Vice President Aircraft Catering at Emirates Airline; celebrity chef Andy Campbell; Samantha Wood, founder of the ‘FooDiva’ blog; Jessie Kirkness Parker, food writer and consultant; and Steve Jones, New Zealand Trade Commissioner.
Organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the New Zealand Government’s international business development agency, the Taste New Zealand chef competition aims to raise awareness of the diversity and quality of New Zealand food and drink products available in the UAE among participating chefs as well as buyers, food service and retail industry leaders. The competition is open to all professional chefs in the UAE.
The competition and awards evening was supported by MMI and Emirates and featured a wide range of New Zealand food and beverage products from Alliance, Angel Bay, Anchor, ANZCO Foods, Barker’s, Blue River, Firstlight, Greenmount Foods, Killinchy Gold, Lee Fish, Manuka Health, Omega Seafood, Phoenix Organics, Piper, Silver Fern Farms, Tegel, Ti Tonics, Whittaker’s, and Wild Honey.
For more information about the competition please visit Taste New Zealand’s website.