The wild and creative work of a chef based in remote Mt Cook has taken the title of National Champion at the prestigious Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge.
Chef Kane Bambery recreated his ‘What a Pig’ dish at a live cook-off event in front of judges in Auckland yesterday (September 24) to beat off stiff competition from seven other finalists and claim the $15,000 prize.
His dish skilfully married the classic flavour of pork with the acidity of Monteith’s Apple Cider to impress the judges and take the win over and above multi-award-winning restaurants in some of New Zealand’s main centres.
“The key to this competition was marrying of the flavours of the dish with the alcohol,” said Chef Bambery. “Apple and pork are a classic combination, so I began the creative process with those two key elements.”
The dish has been on the menu at The Chamois Bar & Grill at The Mt Cook Backpacker Lodge for the past two months and has been delighting guests wanting to sample some of the wild flavours of New Zealand fare.
At the live cook-off, he kept his cool while competing against some of the country’s top chefs to earn the respect of head judge Kerry Tyack and two guest judges.
“The dish from Mount Cook Backpacker Lodge & Chamois Bar and Grill hit every mark that we set for the competition,” said Mr Tyack.
“The match with Monteith’s Crushed Apple Cider was sublime, exposing different characters of the cider with each bite. The dish was wild and deceptively complex, yet it looked simple and we could tell a lot of work had gone into the finished product.”
Chef Bambery said he was “delighted” with the win.
“This was a great event to attend,” he said. “There needs to be more competitions like this in New Zealand where chefs can come together to share ideas, techniques and suppliers.
“Getting together at competitions can only be a good thing as it helps lift the standard and abilities of Kiwi chefs.”
Chef Bambery’s dish was picked from an original list of 132 contenders as part of the nationwide competition to create a New Zealand-inspired wild food dish matched perfectly to Monteith’s beer or cider.
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 Apple Cider
For reservations and more information go to http://www.mtcookbackpackers.co.nz