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Auckland fires up to host Australasian Tapas Championships

Leading chefs from both sides of the Tasman are sharpening their knives as they prepare for battle in the 2019 Australasian Tapas Competition.

Held on September 16 at Ignite Colleges cookery school in Manukau Auckland, the high-octane event will see competitors vie for the grand title of Australasia’s Tapas Champion, plus the chance to compete in the prestigious World Tapas Competition in Spain.

Already 30 leading chefs from across New Zealand have signed up for the challenge and several more are expected to fly in from Australia to compete.

For organiser Jasbir Kaur the competition will challenge chefs to innovate and push boundaries, creating culinary masterpieces that are world-class, yet distinctly Australasian.

"This competition presents an amazing opportunity for New Zealand and Australian chefs. It’s a chance for them to make their mark not just Down Under, but also globally," says Ignite Colleges general manager Jasbir, who is also an award-winning chef and president of NZChefs Auckland branch.

Now in its second year, the Australasian Tapas Competition is one of several events that take place around the globe, with winners from each competition earning the right to represent their region at the World Tapas Competition in Valladolid, Spain from November 7-10.

Last year’s Australasian winner, SkyCity chef Sheyun Chun took out the top award in Valladolid, under the guidance of celebrity chef Peter Gordon.

In this year’s competition, chefs will have just 25 minutes to produce seven portions of an innovative, high-end tapas dish.

They’ll be scored on presentation, originality, flavour, and business potential by a panel of top industry judges.

Among them will be Clooney head chef Nobu Lee, renowned Christchurch chef Giulio Sturla, corporate chef for Unox in Australia Alberto do Lorenzis, Cuisine Magazine editor Kelli Brett, Hospitality NZ CEO Vicki Lee, founder of E-Spain Angel Moreton, Ambassador of Spain in NZ Fernando Curcio Ruigomez, and Consulate Honorable Amelia Pais Rodriguez. Special guests will include the Ambassador of Spain in New Zealand HE Fernando Curcio Ruigómez and the Economic and Trade Commissioner Jordi Fornells.

E-Spain is sponsoring the prize pack which includes return flights to Spain, accommodation in Valladolid and a four-day gastronomic tour of the region.

The Auckland event is being sponsored by HTT (the Hospitality Training Trust) while Great Taste NZ is providing top quality New Zealand ingredients for both the Australasian competition and the global event.

"Thanks to HTT’s generous contribution, the entrance fee is subsidised, giving more chefs around New Zealand and Australia the chance to participate and showcase their talents. This competition is absolutely unique as it gives the winner the opportunity to experience Spanish gastronomy and cook alongside other top chefs from all over the world."

The event kicks off at 8.30am on Monday, September 16, at Ignite Colleges, 98 Kerrs Road Manukau.

Spectators welcome.

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