Waiariki Institute of Technology students have taken out silver and bronze medals at the country's premier student hospitality competition, the Nestle Toque d'Or.

Culinary students Drenna Leenstra and Courtney Rigg went head-to-head with 30 other hospitality students from around the country to come runner-up. Restaurant service student Chakraveer Singh Ranawat also formed part of the competing team and picked up the bronze medal.

The event was at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland on Monday.

Miss Leenstra and Miss Rigg had to battle it out for three hours to create their medal-winning three-course menu during the live kitchen cook-off. Under the watchful gaze of the judges, the team's restaurant service competitor, Mr Singh served the dishes to VIP guests.

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Event organiser and president of the New Zealand Chefs Association Anita Sarginson said the Nestle Toque d'Or was an exciting and fast-paced event.

"It challenges competitors to achieve great things under the intense scrutiny of the judges and with tight time constraints in place.

"Students must be in top form on the day because any mistakes they make will count against them," Ms Sarginson said.

The panel of 19 judges led by top chef Darren Wright scrutinised the students' every move before awarding medals at an awards function held at the Villa Maria Estate in Auckland.

Teams were marked against World Association of Chefs Societies international judging standards which included food preparation, presentation, taste and service.

"Overall, the judges were impressed with the level of professionalism and creativity shown by the competing students," Ms Sarginson said.

She said the event provided a great opportunity for up-and-coming students to demonstrate their skills in front of some of the country's most highly regarded culinary professionals.

Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology was named the overall winner.