It is getting hot in the kitchen for four students training hard for the Toque d'Or competition.
Student chefs studying at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in Tauranga are training for the upcoming competition - the most prestigious tertiary cooking contest in the country.
Aroha Fryer, Tarandeep Singh Deol, Sheyanne Collom (front of house) and Georgia Farmer (reserve) will be cooking up a storm through their mid-semester break to perfect the menu they hope will win them culinary gold when the competition is held in Auckland next month.
The rules of the competition state there must be a salmon entrée, lamb main and a dessert.
The team could not divulge too much about their menu, but team manager and chef tutor Shane Yardley said the students have looked to Japan for inspiration for their salmon dish, and to Turkey for their lamb dish.
"We've put a lot of development into this menu; I expect that will really help the team on the day," Mr Yardley said.
Aroha said having a mentor of Shane's calibre guiding them has been fantastic.
"It's helped a lot to be able to see how Shane works and to bounce ideas off him. It's helping us really understand how things go together."
All three of the student chefs are already working at well-known Tauranga eateries -
Tarandeep at The Phoenix on The Strand, Aroha at Greers in Greerton and Georgia at Tauranga's popular French restaurant, Café Versailles.
"Most of our students are working as well as studying. It's reflective of the current need for chefs in the workforce," Mr Yardley said.
"Competing in Toque d'Or will provide the students with a definite edge; it tells future employers these are really top young chefs. They all have bright futures in the industry."