Secondary and tertiary students had a taste of the culinary industry at a Hawke's Bay regional cooking competition at the weekend.

The 11th annual NZ Chefs Association Hawke's Bay Salon was held at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) on Saturday and Sunday with 100 competitors.

The aspiring chefs took part in a range of challenges from static displays to live cooking classes.

The event also included the regional heats of the National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge (NSSCC) yesterday.


Salon director Glenn Fulcher, who is also head of the Tourism and Hospitality and the English Language centre at EIT, said the competition was a great way for the students to experience real pressures from the hospitality environment.

"They also get really good feedback from the judges who are industry professionals."

The students learnt about trial and error, intense training and cooking to a tight deadline, he said.

The competition is run in the same format each year with a few changes in classes to mix it up a bit.

A static competition was held on Saturday with celebration cakes, cheese cakes, iced cupcakes, artisan breads, quiches and glazed fruit flans judged. There was also a curry cooking section.

A lot of time went into creating the items for the static competition with some competitors putting in 30 hours on their cakes, he said.

Yesterday had the live classes including sandwiches, soup, main courses, desserts, a special diet challenge and innovative pizza (for Year 8-10 students).

The NSSCC was also held yesterday afternoon with the winner from each region going to the Grand Final in September.