Sharpen your knives, adjust your apron, get set…COOK.
After a hugely successful summer season of sizzling Saturday morning cook-offs, the Remarkables Market Chef competition is set for an exciting finale on Saturday March 31 from 10am to midday.
The final will take place at the Red Barn at Remarkables Park as two local finalists, Lee Vandergeest and Naomi Lindsay, go head to head over the grill.
As intense as any cookery competition can be, but infused with good local flavour and plenty of humour, this is an event to inspire and impress the region’s gourmet food lovers.
And the culinary line-up for finals day is impressive.
Judging the final is none other than one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed chefs Peter Thornley, Executive Chef of Hilton Queenstown’s signature restaurant Wakatipu Grill.
Recipient of numerous international and national cuisine awards and a celebrated media personality, Thornley has headed landmark restaurants from Te Papa in Wellington to Akaroa’s French Farm, Auckland’s renowned Kermadec, and now Hilton Queenstown’s highly acclaimed Wakatipu Grill.
The mentor chef aiding and encouraging the two finalists will be Mercure Queenstown Executive Chef Nick Westerman.
A classically trained chef, Nick started his career working at the exclusive Champneys of Tring resort in the UK, working under TV chef Adam Palmer of Ready, Steady, Cook fame. At the Britannia Royal Naval College, he was the Commodore’s personal chef, cooking for his family, royalty, and heads of state.
Before settling in Queenstown, Nick worked in France, Greece, Norway, and Australia.
Thornley and Westerman are both champions of local produce, the overwhelming theme of the Remarkables Market Chef competition.
The two finalists will be cooking up a storm from the contents of a mystery basket, a selection array of ingredients most of which is sourced from within the region.
Fresh fish from the Fresh Fish Brothers, Gibbston Valley cheeses, gourmet delights from Deep Creek Delicatessen and Zamora, Original Smoke and Spice seasoning or free range pork from Southland-based Kapuka Pork are all potential ingredients in the mystery box to be brought together with a pinch of Central Otago flair.
Remarkables Market Manager Sherryn Smith said the event was a wonderful showcase of Wakatipu local and regional delights.
“The Market Chef competition has been a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing produce we have on offer in this region,” she said. “And it’s terrific spectator fun.”
Ms Smith said she encouraged locals to get along to support the two finalists.
The ultimate winner will walk away with $200 to spend at the market, and of course, the prestige of winning the inaugural Remarkables Market Chef Competition.
An annual scarf-making competition is running at the market throughout March, and the final Remarkables Market of the summer season will be held on April 7, when children are invited to take part in the annual Easter Bunny Hunt.