14 April 16: Popular Waikato Challenge back for another year

Monday saw the launch of Waikato Food Inc’s Matariki Dish Challenge for 2016. Local chefs and producers converged at Wintec’s Centre for Hospitality for a night of inspiration and to learn about this year’s challenge.

2015 was the inaugural Tino Reka Te Kai Matariki Dish Challenge which saw twelve eateries across the Waikato compete for the Marty Wong designed trophy, bragging rights and a host of great prizes. Andrew Clarke from Victoria Street Bistro in Hamilton came out on top as winner of the Supreme Award, with The River Kitchen winning the People’s Choice Award.

“With such a great response from both chefs and the public we had to continue with the challenge” says Waikato Food Inc Chairperson, Vicki Ravlich-Horan. Competing dishes in the challenge, which runs between the 6th of June and the 11th of July must include at least two local ingredients and have some significance to Matariki. Vicki says “we love that the challenge is uniquely Waikato, it connects chefs with local producers while highlighting Matariki. Every year chefs, front of house staff and the public learn new things, either about the origins of Matariki or a great local product.”

Now in its second year there are bigger plans for the challenge which will see twice as many eateries enter. Waikato Food Inc also have some great events lined up to support those entering, including a foraging field trip in Pirongia with esteemed chef Charles Royal. Charles, who specialises in using indigenous herbs and ingredients gave an inspirational presentation at Monday’s launch and will lead the foraging trip.

Workshops aimed at engaging the front of house staff are also available to all entrants, encouraging them to see the competition as a great way to inspire and up-skill the whole team not just the chefs. “Last year’s challenge proved we had captured the attention of chefs with some amazing dishes created” says Vicki. “Unfortunately many of the front of house staff had no idea about the competition and we felt this was a real shame. As one of Waikato Food Inc’s goals is to help local hospitality businesses grow, we felt the Challenge offered an opportunity to provide practical training.”

So this year the public are in for an even bigger treat with more eateries offering their Matariki inspired dish, putting their best foot forward and providing even more evidence that the Waikato has some of the best eating establishments in the country.


2016 Tino Reka Te Kai Matariki Dish Challenge

Open to any Waikato eatery
Entries close on the 27th May
Challenge runs from 6th June – 11th July

Dishes must include at least 2 local ingredients and have some reference to Matariki.
People’s choice award chosen through public vote. Prize is a $500 staff outing to Sunday Lunch at Vilagrads.
Overall winner chosen via a series of mystery judging. Winners take home a $1000 voucher from Mediaworks and a $500 voucher from Bidvest Fresh plus have the unique Marty Wong trophy for the year.

For more details go to www.waikatofoodinc.com/matariki-dish-challenge/

Waikato Food Inc

Waikato Food Inc is a not for profit member based organisation with two goals; promoting and growing food and hospitality businesses in the Waikato.
For more information go to www.waikatofoodinc.com

For more information on the Matariki Dish Challenge contact;
Megan Thorn
021 509 944
E: megan@exult.co.nz

For more information about Waikato Food Inc contact;
Vicki Ravlich-Horan