Young Chef Dishes up Australasia's Best Savoury

Monday 26 March 2012, 10:58AM

By Fonterra


Zane Neustroski
Zane Neustroski Credit: Fonterra
Zane Neustroski
Zane Neustroski Credit: Fonterra

A young Christchurch chef served up the best savoury dish as voted by judges at the Fonterra Foodservices Proud to be a Chef Australasian final in Melbourne earlier this month.

Zane Neustroski, who is in his third year of a chef’s apprenticeship at Christchurch Polytechnic and works at Restaurant Pescatore at The George Hotel in Christchurch, was awarded the top accolade with a dish comprising of seared snapper and mussel custard, braised vegetables and pickled oyster mushrooms.

The judges complimented it for being beautifully prepared and well-balanced with great texture.

The finalists were given four key ingredients with which to build a savoury main and sweet dessert dish to present to the judges the following day. Zane’s ingredients were snapper and mussels for the main, and orange and hazelnuts for the dessert. They were able to think about their creations overnight then had three hours to prepare the two dishes from scratch.

Zane took inspiration from the new skills he learned during the three-day competition and his surroundings in Melbourne with the aim of “putting together something worth eating.”

Zane was one of 32 finalist trainee chefs from New Zealand and Australia to be put through their paces with a series of Masterclasses during the three day event, then given a list of key ingredients with which to make a main and dessert course the next day as part of the competition.

The overall competition was won by New South Wales apprentice chef Sonja Dawson, who walked away with an international culinary sponsorship tailored to her personal aspirations as a chef. Sonja is in her third year of her apprenticeship at The Bathers Pavilion in Balmoral Beach, Sydney. Two fellow Australians, Nathan Freeman from South Australia and Georgia Ramsay from Western Australia, won second and third place respectively.

The three other New Zealand chefs who cooked their way to the international final were Lyle Robertson from Auckland (who studies at AUT and works at Euro); William Mordido from Auckland (who studies and works at SKYCITY); and Zac Saunders from Lower Hutt (who studies at WelTec and works at Gusto Bistro).

The four Kiwis took away an all expenses paid trip to the Melbourne final where they wined and dined at award-winning restaurants and received hands-on mentoring and master-classes with world leading chefs including Philippe Mouchel (PM24), Pierrick Boyer (Le Petit Gateau Patisserie and RACV Club), Adam D’Slyva (Coda) and Peter Wright (National President Australian Culinary Federation).

Once the competition was over, Zane stayed on in the Australian culinary capital and secured several days work experience at top restaurants including Cumulus Inc, Le Petit Gateau, and Circa, the Prince, where he was lucky enough to work with Brett Graham from The Ledbury in London’s Notting Hill, a Michelin two star restaurant.

Fonterra Foodservices Proud to be a Chef was set up to publically recognise and reward the vital contribution that chefs make to the industry and provides up-and-coming culinary stars with the necessary skills, resources and mentoring they need to take their career to the next level.

For further information on Fonterra Foodservices Proud to be a Chef visit Applications for this year’s Proud to be a Chef will open again in the second half of this year.