Two Tauranga students will prepare and present the best dishes of their young lives when they compete in the National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge on Friday.
Otumoetai College students Laura Blair, 17, and Micah Winiata, 17, are about to go head-to-head in a live cook-off against other selected secondary school students, judged by New Zealand's best chefs at the Manukau Institute of Technology.
Laura and Micah have spent four months working to create a high-end entree and main course, which must feature the key elements of locally grown beetroot, chicken and seasonal New Zealand grown vegetables.
Their dish? For entree, a spiced beetroot and goats cheese mousse atop a sour apple, mint and ginger jelly served on a beetroot soil with walnut and micro herbs.
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For the main, a brush of beetroot mousse, layered potatoes, rolled chicken breast stuffed with rice, cranberries, dates, orange and spices served with roasted carrot, and broccoli and spinach puree - all prepared and presented in 90 minutes.
If they win, Micah and Laura will each receive a $2000 study scholarship and a trip to Tahiti to represent New Zealand at the International Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge.