Aspiring young chefs and children who love to cook are being invited to grab the opportunity to shine and learn more.

Registrations for Junior Chefs of Aotearoa, previously known as Junior Masterchef Rotorua, opened on April 15 and run until June 15.

The Junior Chefs of Aotearoa show with 10 selected teams will be held from July 14 to 16.

Organiser and local chef Deep Kumar says this year registrations are open to children all over New Zealand and the show is being held in school holidays so entrants out of Rotorua can make it.


Deep hopes even more children between the ages 9 to 15 will register this year, with last year's event having 200 entries.

Children need to register as teams of two, and schools are invited to organise and enter teams.

He says this year's show will be a little different for the teams who are selected, including the children cooking for a public event and important people from the community, who will be a surprise.

Some aspects are the same, including the mystery box challenge and the prizes.

If someone wants to part of the show Rotorua people are welcome to volunteer their services.

The prizes include $2000 cash for winners and $500 for the runners up, as well as getting one night to cook for the public and the chance to be part of writing a cookbook.

"It's a great platform for children to show their skills and a way to get out of their comfort zone and learn a lot of things in the kitchen."

Deep thinks cooking is a skill every child should have, and that putting a childrens' cooking show out there could help other children learn and be inspired.

Leo Schweizer cooking in last year's competition. Photo / File
Leo Schweizer cooking in last year's competition. Photo / File

He says having a New Zealand childrens' cooking show on television is his ultimate goal, as well as a community cooking kitchen where free cooking classes are held regularly for children.

Deep would like to encourage more boys to enter the show this year.

He thanks the show's sponsors, including Bidfood, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology and Lakeland Queen which are continuing to support the event from last year.

Mackenzie James (left) and Jasmine McCashin working as a team in last year's competition. Photo / File
Mackenzie James (left) and Jasmine McCashin working as a team in last year's competition. Photo / File

Tom Parry, one half of last year's winning team, says the event was an exhilarating opportunity to work with one of his best mates.

"I particularly enjoyed the pressure and coming up with solutions along the way. Each day and each course was different for us.

"I enjoy good food so it was a great challenge to do our best and produce some fun dishes which the Judges enjoyed."

He says it was interesting being in the kitchen with other young people and learning from their creations and palates.

"I would recommend taking a chance on the competition and enjoying the process.

"I wish all contestants the very best of luck."

Leo Schweizer, 14, of last year's winning team says he found the competition to be an amazing experience.

He says he was able to improve his cooking skills and experience cooking in a commercial kitchen.

"I think it made me more interested in cooking which I think is an important life skill.

"Anyone thinking about it should definitely enter and give it a go."

For more information go to the Junior Chefs of Aotearoa Facebook page. To register go to