24 October 2019
Over the last five weeks cafes, restaurants and cellar doors have showcased the region's flavours across five categories in the 2019 Eat.Taste.Central Regional Menu challenge. This weekend is the final chance to sample the dishes, and vote in the People's Choice Awards which close at midday on Monday 28 October.
The top five dishes in each category will then be served up to an invited judging panel to select the overall winners including best beverage match.
MiNDFOOD is providing two judges for Eat.Taste.Central with the founders of the media company Michael and Michelle McHugh returning home to Central Otago to judge. Joining them will be Giulio Sturla, who was 2018 Cuisine NZ Chef of the Year and is the founder of Eat New Zealand the not-for-profit New Zealand food movement dedicated to connecting people to our land through our food. The final judge is Reuben Levermore, Head of Tourism and Regional Affairs for Air New Zealand.
"We want to acknowledge the hard work of local businesses who have all delivered an outstanding array of dishes and events," said Eat.Taste.Central campaign manager Anthony Longman. "They are all helping build Central's position as a destination that delivers outstanding food and wine experiences, from Waipiata to Cromwell and everywhere in between.
"We've been extremely fortunate for 2019 to have secured additional support to help with the judging programme. Go Rentals, Harvest Hotel Highlands Experience the Exceptional and Provenance Meats are all supporting the two day judging programme and awards night."
The overall judges' winners and People's Choice recipients will be announced at a special celebration event at Highlands in Cromwell on Wednesday 30 October.
The four person guest judging panel features:
Michelle and Michael McHugh – MiNDFOOD Media
Food Director of MiNDFOOD media. Michelle and Michael are looking forward to returning home to Central Otago to be part of the Eat.Taste.Central judging panel. The pair enjoy seeing the talent and skill across the region, and tasting some really good food.
"At MiNDFOOD we love finding and showcasing talent, and Eat.Taste.Central is a perfect platform for locals to show the rest of New Zealand what is happening food wise in Central," said Mr McHugh.
MiNDFOOD is an integrated media brand, delivering local and international content across a range of platforms. The brand is built around the core editorial platforms of community, culture, health, beauty, style, décor, travel, food and drink.
Giulio Sturla – Eat New Zealand
Giulio is the founder and driving force behind Eat New Zealand, a movement initiated by chefs and people in the business of food with the aim of highlighting the quality and vast array of edible resources available in New Zealand.
Giulio created and ran the award winning Roots Restaurant in Lyttleton in 2012 until early 2019 in Lyttleton. The main emphasis at Roots was the quality of ingredients, the stories behind the food and presenting the true flavours. Roots received several accolades and awards and Giulio was awarded Cuisine NZ Chef of the Year in 2018.
Reuben Levermore – Air New Zealand
Reuben is Head of Tourism and Regional Affairs at Air New Zealand, and on the board of Tourism Industry Aotearoa. He quietly boasts of his experience as a judge in the floor baking challenge in the Air New Zealand office.