Young chefs will be heating up the kitchen in Rotorua as they put their best dishes forward for Junior Chefs of Aotearoa.

Previously known as Junior Masterchef Rotorua, it is being held from today to Tuesday at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

Local chef and organiser Deep Kumar says the competition is being taken on by talented children.

"It's going to be exciting, and this year there is more involvement from the community and we really thank all the people being part of the show."

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He says there are new additions to this year's competition, including teams cooking for some special people in the community which will be a surprise tomorrow.

On Sunday, teams will cook for the public at the Rotorua's Farmer's Market while raising money for Hospice.

"It's another way of getting great experience for the kids and they are going to raise money for a great cause.

"Those are the two key rounds I'm excited about."

There are six rounds in total, which also include a mystery box and a five-course meal for the final.

The final will be held on Tuesday, and this year's winning team will be announced at a gala evening on Tuesday at House of Spice.

Deep says the prizes have also gotten bigger this year, with the community coming together and supporting the competition.

Last year's finalists and judges, along with organiser Deep Kumar. Photo / File
Last year's finalists and judges, along with organiser Deep Kumar. Photo / File

The prizes for 2019's winners include $2000 cash, a holiday package in Rarotonga thanks to Helloworld (excluding airfare), cooking for the public in a restaurant, family membership for a year at Flex Fitness, and two global knives donated by Bidfood Rotorua.

Both the winners and runners-up will be involved in writing a cookbook.

He says the competition is all about giving young cooks a great platform to show their talent and be an inspiration for other children.

Over the past month Deep and the judges have been providing the young chefs with all the necessary information and guidance they need, and working closely with them to help them be prepared and encouraged for the competition.

Rotorua's Mary Schuster and Teuila Schuster say they are excited, and hoping to have good fun and learn some skills.

Teuila says she is looking forward to presenting their dishes and giving the competition everything they've got.

Bella Lattin, 13, and Meeka Truscott, 13, are travelling over from Cambridge to take part.

Meeka says she is excited and getting more nervous as the date nears.

"I'm really looking forward to everything about taking part in a competition like this.

"I've always wanted to be involved in a cooking competition and now it's actually happening.

"I think it is awesome Deep is inspiring young cooks like Bella and I. We can't wait!"

Bella says she is feeling excited and a bit nervous.

"I'm looking forward to spending time in the kitchen with Meeka and cooking for people in the Street Food challenge.

"The five course degustation in six hours will be a real challenge, but I hope we get to do it."

Organiser Deep Kumar with several of the children in the top 10 pairs for this year's Junior Chefs of Aotearoa at Bidfood Rotorua. Photo / File
Organiser Deep Kumar with several of the children in the top 10 pairs for this year's Junior Chefs of Aotearoa at Bidfood Rotorua. Photo / File

Junior Chefs of Aotearoa rounds

- Today: Competition kicks off, including Mystery Box Challenge

- Tomorrow: Teams cook for special, surprise people from the community

- Sunday: Teams cook at the Rotorua Farmers' Market

- Monday: Semi-finals

- Tuesday: Final and Gala evening

The teams
Mackenzie James and Rhiannon Ward
Bella Lattin and Meeka Truscott
Minka Crouch and Georgia Van Den Broek
Caitlin Kinsella and Kennedy Meads
Freyja Bjarnadottir and Grace Rotherham
Avanni Beehre and Flynn Haines
Teuila Schuster and Mary Schuster
Lauren Stephan and Sarah Turner
Drayarna Hudson and Kaytalia Coles
Ethan Wolland and Apollo Cameron-Boot