The kitchen team at the Mt Cook Backpacker Lodge Chamois Bar & Grill in Aoraki Mt Cook is enjoying the dizzy heights of culinary success after making the finals of a prestigious ‘wild food’ competition.
It’s been a ‘wild time’ for chefs at Aoraki Mt Cook, who have recently scooped a number of accolades at regional and national culinary fare competitions before making the final of the legendary Monteith’s Beer & Wild Food Challenge.
Chef Kane Bambery’s ‘What a Pig’ dish was picked from more than 132 contenders throughout New Zealand to make the finals of the 15th annual Monteith’s event.
His dish was a mouth-watering combination of braised and slow-roasted pork ribs and pork cheeks, served with crumbed white pudding, Maori potato, watercress, vegetables and apple puree, matched perfectly with a Monteith’s Crushed Apple Cider.
He will now go to Auckland to compete in a live cook-off against some of the country’s most respected chefs and award-winning restaurants on September 24, where a $15,000 cash prize for the overall National Champion will be decided by head judge Kerry Tyack and two guest judges.
The Monteith’s Beer & Wild Food Challenge sees chefs from backpackers to fine dining establishments create New Zealand-inspired wild food dishes matched perfectly to Monteith’s beer or cider.
“It’s been over seven intense weeks of wild food cooking for Kane and the team, so to see them rewarded with a spot in the finals is a fantastic achievement,” said General Manager Nigel Harper.
“This amazing wild food dish is still on the menu at the Mt Cook Backpacker Lodge Chamois Bar & Grill.
“Along with the award-winning team at The Panorama Room, the proof’s in the pudding that there’s fine cuisine to be sampled wherever our guests are dining at Mt Cook.”
The Hermitage Hotel’s kitchen team recently took home a bounty of awards at the Southern Light Salon Culinaire regional competition held in Invercargill. Their success meant they qualified to go on to compete in the National Culinary Show in Auckland last month.
The team shone again in Auckland, where Head Chef Ken O’Connell and Kane Bambery won the New Zealand Regional Team Challenge against teams from around the country in a three-hour competition, producing a three-course meal consisting of 18 plates.
The kitchen team also took out wins in a number of categories, finishing up in total with three title wins, six silvers, four bronze medals and one merit.
“We’ve always had a strong culture of encouraging our chefs to enter competitions,” said Mr Harper. “We see the effect it has on their confidence, their abilities and their discipline. It gives young chefs an incredible amount of pride in their work.”
Visitors to Aoraki Mt Cook can sample a wild food experience at the Mt Cook Backpacker Lodge Chamois Bar & Grill, or experience the culinary delights of the award-winning kitchen team at The Hermitage Hotel’s Panorama Room.