Chefs go head to head over 'magic box'

A MasterChef-style cook-off to decide the region's top chef will add some spice to this year's Manawatu Hospitality Awards.

The awards, given for the fifth time, take place in November and organiser Julie Poole said the competition, to be held at a potentially public event at UCOL before the awards, was one of a few exciting tweaks to the industry's night of celebration.

The region's top chefs, emerging chefs and ethnic chefs would be pitted against each other in a cook-off using ingredients from a "magic box". Poole said it would give every chef in the region a chance to show their abilities in the kitchen and there could be a fair bit of heat.

The Manawatu Hospitality Awards were created in 2007 as a high point in the social calendar for hospitality staff. They are held biennially after initially running every year.

Categories for the 2014 event include the peer-voted caterer of the year, takeaway of the year, pub of the year, bar/night spot of the year and supplier of the year.

Bartender, waiter, maitre d', barista, emerging chef and chef of the year will all be judged.

Ethnic restaurant of the year, restaurant of the year and cafe of the year will be decided with a mix of peer voting and judging.

Sponsors for some of the categories are still being sought.

Poole said all hospitality owners would receive either an email or hand-delivered nomination forms which they would use to determine the finalists in each category.

"It's always been known as awards that are by the industry for the industry," Poole said. "It seems to work well."

She encouraged all managers to enter their staff in the awards. Nominations open on July 1 and will close at the end of July.

The awards will be held at the Awapuni Function Centre on Sunday, November 9.

Manawatu Standard