Two Waikato restaurants have made it through to the final round of the prestigious Monteith's Beer and Wild Food Challenge, with one already being the pick of the public.
Coromandel's Pepper Tree Restaurant and Bar will compete with Hamilton's Victoria Street Bistro, which was guaranteed a spot after it won the "people's choice" award and a wildcard entry into the final cookoff.
Pepper Tree was recognised for its Guinea Fowl Trifecta by chef Scott Corbett. The trio of guinea fowl was served with Monteith's Crushed Apple Cider.
The public voted Victoria Street Bistro chef Andrew Clarke's slow braised Raukumara venison the best of all entries around New Zealand. It came in a native herb suet pastry with wild offal, and local goat's brie and more. Monteith's Doppelbock Winter Ale was matched with the dish.
The judges this year selected an unprecedented seven finalists instead of six, who will compete in the final "cookoff" in Auckland on September 24.
Head judge Kerry Tyack, joined by two guest judges, Alan Brown and Yvonne Lorkin, will determine the Monteith's Beer and Wild Food Challenge National Champion, who will win an increased bounty of $15,000 in recognition of the 15th anniversary of the challenge.
"The standard of food and beverage matching has been astoundingly good this year and after splitting hairs over entries, I've simply had to include an additional competitor in the final cook off," said Tyack.
"This final round will really up the stakes; the nation's most daring chefs will be recreating their wild masterpieces alongside fellow competitors."
For more information on the Monteith's Beer Wild Food Challenge visit www.monteiths.co.nz or www.facebook.com/monteiths.
- © Fairfax NZ News