Avocado Smash, created by the Lighthouse on Lockington Cafe won the inaugural Katikati Smashed Avocado Competition, announced at Saturday's Avocado Food and Wine Festival.

Competition organiser Nicky Austin from Katch Katikati presented the trophy to cafe owners Leanne and Brian Christie and their daughter Shontelle Scott, and the team — who were thrilled.

"We are chuffed with the win," said Leanne who was proud of the team.

She said she felt keeping the dish plain and simple made it a winner.

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"Shontelle had the original idea, then a team effort to tweak the dish and adding bacon, tomatoes and making a dressing."

The cafe entered the competition as they had recently added the dish to their menu so the hard work to prepare was already done.

"We thought — why not — a bit of fun and community competitiveness would be a challenge."

The Lighthouse on Lockington Cafe scored an average 23.88 points out of 25 for their dish during the month-long competition.

Katch Katikati's Nicky Austin with Greg O'Carroll from Seeka pulling out two people's choice voucher winners.
Katch Katikati's Nicky Austin with Greg O'Carroll from Seeka pulling out two people's choice voucher winners.

In total 634 diners voted after sampling dishes at any one of the six establishments in the competition.

Diners were asked to score (from 1 to 5) the dish, presentation, flavour, creativity in naming the dish, how well it was promoted, service and the dining experience.

The Lighthouse Cafe had received positive feedback from many customers who told them their dish was "very tasty," "a very generous serving", "it looked impressive and yummy".

A comment in the first day of the competition came from a young customer and her mum who told them how big and green the dish was, "so 'The Hulk Smash' name grew and a few commented and thought it well described the dish too," Leanne said.

The overall results of the competition were very close.

"For the rest of the entrants it came down to just decimal point differences," Nicky said. Although the Talisman Hotel had the most number of voters, putting through 275 of their Through the Ages dish, the competition was judged by points, not the number of voters.

Katch Katikati felt that scoring the dishes rather than the number of votes was the fairest way to run the competition as some establishments would obviously always be busier than others.

Being a new competition Nicky said she wasn't sure how it would be received and applauded the entrants who came on board and for helping promote avocados.

"I am really happy with the way the establishments have embraced the competition.

"They worked really hard on their dishes and now we're at the end of it, the feedback from customers and the cafes has been overwhelmingly positive."

When tallying the scores on the voting forms, Nicky said some voters had left messages on the back: "an unforgettable experience", "not flavours you would usually associate with avocado but worked extremely well" and " best meal I've had in a long time".

The aim of the competition was to show people there are lots of ways to be creative with avocados to make meals.

"I feel we achieved that, and the pride in that here in Katikati we are able to produce the most stunning and delicious avocados in the world," Nicky said.

The success of the competition means it will run again in December. Leanne said the cafe, which has the winning trophy on display on the main counter, is keen to enter again.
"But a dish not requiring as many avocados would definitely be looked into."

Two 'people's choice' vouchers were drawn from all the voters, by competition sponsors Seeka representative Greg O'Carroll.

Mike Apaapa and Jenni Wilson were the winners of $50 vouchers.

Both chose to have vouchers from the Talisman Hotel, Restaurant and Garden Bar.