There was not a clean apron in sight as 12 young chefs cooked for the public at the Rotorua Farmers Market as part of the Junior Chefs of Aotearoa competition.

And getting to taste these aspiring culinary stars' creations wasn't the only benefit for locals with the young ones also raising money for Hospice Rotorua.

The Junior Chefs of Aotearoa competition started on Friday with 10 pairs.

Yesterday, the market was host to the fourth of six rounds, which had the six remaining teams join up to make and sell food at the market, with proceeds going to Hospice.

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The competition has also included a mystery box challenge and on Saturday cooking for local emergency service personnel.

Local chef and organiser Deep Kumar said the food had been exceptional and the children's passion was palpable.

"Our judges had to make some hard decisions as part of the competition."

He said it was amazing to give back to the community through the competition, and that when the children had found out who they were cooking for on Saturday they had been happy and excited.

He said the emergency services helped judge the food and all had great things to say about the meals.

Junior Chefs of Aotearoa contestants selling delicious food at Rotorua Farmers Market. Photo / Ben Fraser
Junior Chefs of Aotearoa contestants selling delicious food at Rotorua Farmers Market. Photo / Ben Fraser

"They couldn't believe kids this age were cooking that kind of food. It's inspiring for the kids."

Kumar said the children's planning had been exceptional and it was hard to believe how they got all their ideas.

He said four teams would make it to the semi-finals being held today, and whoever raised the most money for Hospice at the market would go through.

"Hospice plays an important role in the community."

Kumar said their stalls at the market had been busy and he thought the Rotorua Farmers' Market was the right choice because "it's all about locals and community".

Teams The IncrEdibles and The Llamas sold beef nachos and vegetarian nachos, profiteroles with chocolate ganache, and hand-made guacamole and salsa for the nachos.

They had sold out of nachos with about an hour to go and reckoned they had sold almost 100.

They were then selling leftovers like corn chips and sour cream to try and raise as much as they could, they said.

They said the competition had been a great experience and the chefs had been teaching them different techniques.

Caitlin Kinsella, 11, said the competition had been great but also challenging, and she had enjoyed meeting everyone.

Teams Cooking Cats and Quackers made brownies, cupcakes, quesadillas, Russian fudge and hot chocolate to sell at the market.

Grace Rotherham, 13, said the competition had been challenging but she had learnt a lot.

Sarah Turner, 13, said it was scary when the judges were about to announce the results in each round.

Lauren Stephens, 13, said she liked when the judges asked what they would be making, and then looked excited to see the dish.

Teams Slice Slice Baby and Minka & Georgia made a caramel slice, chocolate brownie with whipped cream, savoury breakfast scones and fruit juice.

Teuila Schuster, 11, said it had started off a bit slow at the market but then built up, and Mary Schuster, 13, said she had enjoyed making food she had never made before and learning new techniques.