Keep your meals simple, Kiwis, don't overcook the ingredients and steer clear of heavy sauces.

Those are simple tips and trends from top UK-based chef Anton Mosimann, who has spent the last three decades cooking all around the world, including for the British royal family.

Mosimann is currently in New Zealand to judge the Nestle Toque d'Or competition, which sees eight of the country's up-and-coming culinary and restaurant-service students battle it out in a live cook-off.

The NZ Defence force, Otago Polytechnic's central campus, Auckland University of Technology, Wintec and SKYCITY Auckland are just a few of the organisations with teams involved in the event.


Mosimann himself won the inaugural event back in 1973 and credits it with changing "his whole professional life" by landing a job in London's prestigious Dorchester Hotel.

"It's a very tough competition, it's one of the highest recommended competitions all over the world. I was the first person ever to win it, a very long time ago, and that's why I'm very honoured to come and judge it today."

He's seen a lot of food trends over the years but had been a fan of healthy cooking for the past 30 years, choosing to leave out heavy, creamier sauces which was now the new fad.

"Obviously in the classic cuisine we'd use cream [with the measurement] 10 to one ... so the sauces were very heavy, not necessarily healthy ... but later I started a very natural style of cooking without cream, butter, fat, no alcohol and that was 30 years ago and looking now all over the world, that's how we like to eat."

Letting the main ingredients shine by themselves with some good seasoning meant it could shine.

"Let the food taste of what it is, let the chicken taste like chicken, fish of fish and do as little as possible with it. Just cook it very simple, very simply, steaming, poaching, beautifully presented, well seasoned, that's the way forward.

He wants mum and dad chefs to cook that way at home, too.

"It's very important that you don't overdo things. With chicken, steam it, poach it, don't make too much out of it because if the product is good by itself you don't need much more ingredients ... and don't overcook it.

"Very often food is overcooked and that is very sad, especially in households ... keep the taste, keep the flavour."

As for Mosimann's upbringing, he was literally born and brought up with a home of chefs.

"I grew up in Switzerland, my parents had a restaurant. I was born on the kitchen floor, more or less. I've never left the kitchen and then I've gone all over the world, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, Japan, Sweden and France and have spent the last 40 years in London."

In his new biography, Life Is a Circus, the 71-year-old goes into detail of his many highlights over the years, one of the main ones being the chef for four generations of the royal family, including the Queen mother, the Queen, Prince Charles and most recently Prince William and Princess Kate.

"I've been very very lucky and very honoured to have such a wonderful profession and still love it, I still get up in the morning and can't wait to get up in the morning and put on my chef jacket and start cooking."

In his third visit to New Zealand, he was looking forward to getting into the judging, which includes other industry professionals, which kicks off at 10.40am today at the Logan Campbell Centre.

"It's everything, preparation, how clean, how tidy you work, well organised, then of course it's taste, it's flavour, it's colour and the presentation ... and at the end of the day who has the most points is the winner, but there's a lot of pressure on."