Kiwi culinary enthusiasts are being called on to prepare their bows and arrows – the annual Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge is back. And what’s more, the bounty has grown with $15,000 up for grabs to celebrate 15 years of courageous kai.
Registrations are now open for all aficionados of gastronomy who have a hunger for adventure and a taste for the wild, to test their prowess at devising daring dishes expertly matched to Monteith’s beer and cider.
During the course of the Challenge, a panel of expert judges will travel the country in pursuit of the best entries. Head judge, Kerry Tyack, says that he will be looking for a wild food and Monteith’s pairing that tantalizes the tastebuds and pushes food frontiers.
“The high calibre of entries over the past 14 years is a testament to the nation’s creative culinary talent, who have had the audacity to experiment with flavours and combinations previously unknown to the Kiwi palate.
“This year we are encouraging chefs to further extend themselves and concoct dishes of never before fathomed concepts,” says Tyack.
To be eligible for entry, each unique dish must feature components sourced from the wildest of local ingredients available (anything not raised on a farm), be presented in a wild way, or use readily available wild ingredients such as venison, huhu grubs or shellfish.
At least two of the primary ingredients in the dish must also be sourced from within 100km of your outlet, providing a distinct local bent and bringing out the flavour of the chosen Monteith’s beer or cider match.
To celebrate those who truly get behind the Challenge, 2012 sees the return of the ‘Spirit of Monteith’s Beer & Wild Food Challenge’. This award acknowledges entrants who go the extra mile to bring the Challenge experience to life within their establishment, with the winner collecting a $2,000 cash prize.
Twelve semi-finalists will be chosen and visited by Head Challenge Judge Kerry Tyack and another expert judge to determine the six best dishes, before the main event, the Finalists’ Cook Off, in Auckland this September.
The public also have a role to play in the judging process; they will be invited to vote via text after dining at any Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge participating establishment. The top ‘People’s Choice’ finalist will then join the six other finalists at the Cook Off.
Monteith’s marketing manager, Jen Macindoe, says she hopes this year’s entrants will raise the bar even higher, upping the stakes on the last 14 years.
“We’ve been in the game for 14 years but you’d be mistaken to think we’ve seen it all. The way we think about food in this country is constantly evolving which is incredibly exciting for a competition like this. We love seeing dishes that bend traditional culinary rules, so push the boundaries and present us with a totally new dining experience.
“We want to see chefs from outlets as diverse as country pubs to metropolitan restaurants go wild and discover new and truly unique ways of combining Monteith’s beverages with food,” she says.
So all hunters and gatherers across the land, register your wild dish and Monteith’s pairing at www.monteiths.co.nz to have a chance of snaring $15,000, if you’re game enough….