Students bring added flavour to FEAST 2020


Students bring added flavour to FEAST 2020

North Tec’s Level 5 cooking students have been turning up the heat in the kitchen while participating in Savour! NORTHLAND FEAST 2020 – a new food and beverage event aimed at showcasing the region’s food during Matariki.

Facilitated by Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency, FEAST 2020 uses only locally-sourced ingredients, with a view to putting Tai Tokerau on a plate.

The cooking competition – run in conjunction with Study Northland, the international education arm of Northland Inc – involved seven students choosing local, in-season produce from Whangārei Growers’ Market before heading to the kitchen to create a winning dish with their special regional ingredients.

They then cooked four savoury and three sweet dishes and plated them up ready for their first experience with a judging panel.

The judges, who included Lisette Buckle, Pathway Manager for North Tec, and Pā Shortland, a Northland food guide (Kaitaki) from Eat New Zealand – a not-for-profit food movement that aims to connect people to the land through food – awarded top prize to Jessica Berweger, an international student from Switzerland who cooked an incredibly tasty and delicate tamarillo crumble with grapefruit curd and a tamarillo sorbet.

Her tamarillos, purchased at the growers’ market, were grown locally at Tamakura Orchards in Maungatapere, near Whangārei. Uniquely Kiwi, the Tamakura tamarillos are a perfect fruit, noted for their “deep, dark mottled skin, rich red colour and fabulous tart-sweet flavour”. 

Berweger, who has been studying cookery at North Tec for a year and a half, said: “I chose tamarillo as my ‘hero’ ingredient because I am fascinated by the extraordinary flavour of the fruit, and it also can be quite challenging to work with.”

The judges commented on the high standard of all the dishes and the effort the students had made in incorporating the “hero” ingredient into all aspects of their dishes.

Honourable mention went to Emely Jessop, a Kiwi student, who cooked a Parihaka Cheese Platter, featuring the award-winning Grinning Gecko Cheese from Whangārei. Her platter included Mexican-stuffed red capsicum with melted parihaka cheese, crumbed cauliflower florets, parihaka cheese sauce and mini baguettes with sundried tomato pesto and parihaka Cheese.

Justine Stuart, Northland’s Food and Beverage Ambassador and the driving force behind Savour! NORTHLAND FEAST 2020, said she had been “overwhelmed” by the response to the inaugural event.

“It’s been wonderful to see so many people enjoying the Northland-inspired dishes that cafes and restaurants around the region have been putting on their menus. Having the North Tec students involved in their own local recipe competition is such a great example of the many different ways this event could expand if it was to become an annual food and beverage fixture.”

The North Tec diploma in cookery, Level 5, provides individuals who are employed in senior cheffing positions with a credential that enhances their employment opportunities in a professional kitchen.

To view the menu cards of the two dishes mentioned, or to recreate them at home, please visit:


Picture: Winning student Jessica Berweger plates up during the FEAST2020 cooking competition


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