There was plenty of heat in the kitchen as the 10th Waikato Culinary fare began with more than 380 students taking part in cooking and hospitality challenges.
The two-day event is being hedl at Wintec's Rotokauri campus yesterday and today.
The Waikato regional competition for the National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge (NSSCC) is the largest regional competition, only surpassed by the national competition in Auckland.
Students from all over the Waikato region have entered, some driving from as far as Rotorua in order to receive the golden ticket to the final.
The fare not only creates a friendly competition, but acts as a stepping stone to the national final in Auckland on September 12.
Members of the Waikato Culinary Fare's committee say the fare is a great way to encourage students to enter the industry.
"It is a stepping stone for a hospitality career," said committee member Paul Hodge.
However, the fare not only encourages students to enter the industry but does everything possible to provide a friendly environment for students to develop skills.
"We provide a platform for the students to present their talent, if they don't have knives we provide them with some, it is all about supporting them," said Barry Finch, a Wintec hospitality tutor.
The competition is going strong, with the fare celebrating its 10th birthday fittingly with a birthday cake competition.
Wintec's School of International Tourism Hospitality and Events team manager Peter Radojkovich encouraged students to follow their passions.
"Chances are if you enjoy it, you can do well," he said.
Emma Taylor is a Massey University Journalism student.