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National Secondary School Culinary Challenge


The level of skill and creativity in all the regional competitions for the National Secondary School Culinary Challenge has been universally impressive. Students made excellent use of fresh New Zealand grown tomatoes as the principal component of an entrée with some stunning dishes including gazpacho, consommé, tasting plates, scones, tarts, sauces and pinwheels. Students had 60 minutes to complete their dishes under the watchful eye of the judges.

“We never stop judging from the moment the clock starts to the last second of the competition,” explains Janet McKay, head judge of the Auckland – South regional competition. “We’re watching everything from knife skills, hygiene and cookery methods, to how closely their dish matches their recipe cards, their timing and whether they would be ticking the right boxes if they were working in a commercial restaurant.” 

From here each winner will team up with a second competitor to create their dishes for the Grand Final on 4 September, which will comprise both an entrée featuring tomatoes, and a main course using a Chicken Supreme cut from Waitoa Chicken and fresh New Zealand grown potatoes and vegetables.

The winners to date are:


Winner: Latisha Robinson, Wellington Trades Academy

Dish: Tomato dumpling with prawns in a tomato soup.

Culinary Challenge 18

Hawke's Bay

Winner: Kelsey Stubbs, Napier Girls’ High School

Dish: Tomato tapas 4 ways: Virgin Mary yellow tomato shot, candied tomatoes with bacon sprinkle, mozzarella-stuffed tomato with sundried tomato cracker, with a mozzarella, cherry tomato and basil side salad.

Culinary Challenge 18


Winner: Britney Walsh, Whanganui High School

Dish: Terrine of tomato, serviced with a cracker crumb and tomato butter soil, with a tomato salsa shot.

Culinary Challenge 18


Winner: Maggie Carroll, Burnside High School

Dish: Tomato tart with fresh tomato and basil salad, manuka smoked tomato foam and goat cheese with a rich tomato sauce.

Culinary Challenge 18


Winner: Liam Hynd, Kings High School, Dunedin

Dish: Glazed tomatoes, baked smoked cheesecake with a pastry crisp and rocket and baby cress salad.

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Auckland – South

Winner: Isabella Vaikai, Manurewa High School

Dish: Ika Mata: Marinated Kingfish, manuka-smoked Curious Croppers tomato, coconut, cucumber and spring onion in a tomato consommé.

Culinary Challenge 18

Auckland – North

Winner: Bara Kralova, Long Bay College

Dish: Tomato tartare: Dehydrated tomato rose with caramelised onion and cream cheese with tomato powder and herb dressing.

Culinary Challenge 18


To view more of the photos from the regional events check out ServiceIQ Instagram page.