NZMA Students Top of the Ranks in National Hospitality Competition

NZMA Students Top of the Ranks in National Hospitality Competition

Friday 23 August

A world-class competition has proved that New Zealand’s hospitality industry is hosting a tonne of talent – and students from NZMA are at the top of the leaderboard.

The prestigious New Zealand Culinary Fare, held at the ASB Showgrounds from August 18 – 20, saw hundreds of competitors from around the country test  their skills against their industry equals in a wide range of front-of-house and back-of-house events.  Many brought home medals and all had the chance to showcase their ability to the judges, spectators, and future employers.

Students from NZMA’s Auckland Central, Auckland South, Panmure and Waikato Campuses competed in the event, bringing home a staggering 55 medals between them, including six gold medals, 23 silvers (two of which were top scores for their categories) and 26 bronze medals.

“NZMA students really shone in the Culinary Fare this year,” said NZMA Campus Principal and trainer Nishat Elavia.

“We received great feedback from the judges and some of our students even gained job offers as a result of their performance on the day. Their impressive medal haul was well deserved – our students and their trainers put in hours and hours of work in the weeks leading up to the competition, to ensure their performances would be flawless on the day.”

The New Zealand Culinary fare is the largest hospitality competition of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting up to 6000 spectators each year.  NZMA sees it as a fantastic opportunity for students to master certain areas of service, gain confidence, and build their reputations in the industry.

For many competitors it is a rewarding, yet nerve-wracking experience.

NZMA Auckland South Café Supervisor Joanna Katene competed in the event for the first time and earned herself top score in the Chicken Dish (Open) category, with her very own mouth-watering Chicken Roulade with Chive Sauce.

The 42 year old mother of eight and grandmother of three studied Level 3 and 4 Hospitality at NZMA after spending many years as a stay-at-home mum.  NZMA was so impressed with her ability and attitude that they later hired her to run the NZMA training café, and teach students the practical aspects of food safety.

“Studying at NZMA really changed my life,” said Joanna.

“I wanted my kids to be able to say their mum had a good job, not that she just stayed at home all day.  And now that I am working at NZMA, they can!  I love my job and it was great to have the opportunity to compete in the New Zealand Culinary Fare for the first time.  I had knots in my stomach throughout the entire competition - I couldn’t believe it when I was awarded the top score.  It has given me such a boost and it was a great experience.”

Others from NZMA Auckland South who made their mark included Sana Etuale and Lance Broad who both won gold medals for their Classic Cocktails (Training) and bronze medals for their Innovative Cocktails (Training).  Lance also picked up a bronze in the Table Setting/Service (Training) category.  Maria Hill earned a silver in Classic Cocktails (Training), and bronze medals were awarded to Stevie Marino, Jordan Noble and Isibella Sila for their Innovative Cocktails (Training).  Meanwhile Jessica Wanihi and Maki Moka took out bronze medals in the Barista (Open) class.

This is the first year NZMA has entered in any of the cookery events, and our talented cookery students from NZMA Panmure did us proud.  Zexuan Liu and Leap Leang both won silver medals for their Soup (Training) and four silvers were awarded in the Pasta Dish (Training) category (Juyoung Im, Tyson Cross, Cassandra Violeti and Michiel Roos).  Benjamin Biddle gained a bronze in the same category while bronze medals also went to Jarmanjit Singh Khosa for his Salmon Dish (Training) and Allie Mataata for her Duck Dish (Open).  Yang Ding received a certificate of merit for his efforts in the Salmon Dish (Training) category. 

Several hospitality students from NZMA Panmure also competed.  Hope Pomery (pictured competing here) earned the highest score and a silver medal for her Innovative Cocktail (Open).  Te Ahu Kapea competed in the same event and brought home the bronze.

NZMA’s Auckland Central Campus proudly earned themselves three gold medals in the Classic Cocktails (Training) category.  Well done Kunyuan Guo, Siyuan Yang and Abbas Burmawala.  In addition, Abbas picked up a silver in Barista (Training) and a bronze in the Innovative Cocktail (Training).  Zhang Meijuan also competed in this Barista event, winning gold, and her fellow school-mates Wanjae Lee and Yang Liu were awarded bronze medals.

Back to the cocktails, Arena Qui picked up a silver in the Classic Cocktail (Open) and in the Innovative Cocktail (Open) Denis Antcupov, Hong Yang and Noriko Okinaka were all awarded bronze medals.  Auckland Central students also excelled in the Table Setting and Crumbing Down event – silver medals went to Liu Shu Chen, Dylan Fong, Cavit Duztaban and Kumiko Hamamoto, while Hiromi Kasajima earned bronze.

Last, but not least, our students from the mighty Waikato did particularly well in the cocktail categories.  Dianne Maxwell won silver medals for both her Classic and Innovative Cocktails.  Darian Panui, Kristal Brennan, Anastasia Dodanis and Krysta Scott all earned silver in the Classic Cocktails event and bronze in the Innovative category.  Dwayne Short won two bronze medals for his Classic and Innovative cocktails, Dreenah Heller and Rachel McGinlay were both awarded silver medals in Classic Cocktails and Rachel also received a certificate of merit for her Innovative Cocktail.  In the Table Setting event, Hamilton’s Chelsea Ruatoto brought home the bronze.

Congratulations not just to our medal winners, but to all those NZMA students who competed in this year’s New Zealand Culinary Fare.  You have done us proud!