It is the fourth year of the chef awards and this time included finalists from the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Ōra King is New Zealand King Salmon's premium foodservice brand produced exclusively for fine dining restaurants in New Zealand and offshore. An invite to the limited seating annual awards lunch, is rarely turned down.
Hospitality students, Jacob Shelling and Edward Dillimore, under the guidance of tutor, Greg Dyer, came up with a cocktail using Lighthouse Gin to accompany the canapés course.
The cocktail is called Lighthouse King and was paired with manuka cold smoked Ōra King Salmon, glazed grilled asparagus with Ōra King Caviar, smoked eel mousse as well as Kiwa Oysters and Cloudy Bay Clams.
Jacob said it was "quite fun" coming up with cocktail and it was designed to match the canapés dishes. Ōra King Salmon ambassador Australian Chef, Elijah Holland, was one of the chefs creating the lunch he said, on tasting the cocktail; "It's great. I could down another six glasses of that."
The Hospitality students are studying on the Level 3 New Zealand Certificate in Food and Beverage Service. It is a 17 week programme and the students not only get to practice their skills at the in house Rata Room, but also at outside events. The Ōra King Salmon awards lunch is the second event, the current class have experienced. The event was held at the exclusive Nelson Club. Jacob and Edward were behind the bar making their cocktails while the rest of the class had a busy afternoon assisting with the lunch service.
Cookery students, studying Culinary Arts, had the opportunity to work alongside top chefs to prep for the lunch in the NMIT teaching kitchen. As well as Elijah from Australia, the chefs included, Thomas Barta from Auckland's Harbourside Ocean, Bar and Grill(external link) and Maxime Gnojczak from one80 Restaurant in Wellington(external link). Elijah was very impressed with NMIT's kitchen facilities compared to how he trained. "These guys have got it lucky," he said.