Still tasting time!


17 October 2018

The Eat.Taste.Central Regional Menu Challenge has proven extremely popular and with less than a week to go until voting closes on 22 October total voting has already exceeded the total votes received in 2017.

The regional menu celebrates our flavours in four categories: Burger & Sandwich Challenge, Pie, Main Meal and Sweet/Dessert. Dishes are matched with local Central Otago wines, beers and juices. 

The revised voting system, and promotional partnership with the Central App has helped drive a great response from diners, and Tourism Central Otago is looking forward to collating the votes and discovering the top five dishes in each category. The top five dishes will then be served up to an invited judging panel to select the overall winners including best beverage match.

This year's panel includes Michelle and Lillian McHugh from MiNDFOOD Media, local Central Otago chef Armando Varlotta and award winning Central Otago winemaker Matt Connell.

"In just the second year of the event we're excited by the enthusiasm shown by local businesses to actively get in behind and promote Eat.Taste.Central. A big thank you to those who have also got out and tasted the dishes," says campaign manager Antz Longman from Tourism Central Otago.

The overall judges winners, and People's Choice recipients will be announced at a special celebration event at Olivers in Clyde on the evening of Wednesday the 24th of October.

About the Judges

Michelle and Lillian McHugh - MiNDFOOD media.  Michelle and Lillian are looking forward to returning home to Central Otago to be part of the Eat.Taste.Central judging panel. They see E.T.C as a great opportunity to see local ingredients being used by talented locals and showcase the very best Central has to offer. 

Armando Varlotta - Italian chef Armando Varlotta or Armando's Kitchen in Cromwell was the inaugural People's Choice winner in the E.T.C Main Meal Challenge in 2017. Due to the rebuild of his restaurant after fire late last year he was unable to participate in this year's E.T.C competition. He's excited about bringing together traditional recipes utilising the local ingredients that Central Otago has got to offer and is delighted to be part of E.T.C 2018 by becoming a judge.

Matt Connell - Matt is a Central Otago based winemaker who produces his own label 'Matt Connell Wines' and has just won the 'Nissan Wine of the Show' at the New Zealand International Wine Show last weekend for his Rendition Pinot Noir 2017. Matt is formally the head winemaker at Olssens and Akarua his name is associated with many award winning Central Otago Pinot Noirs. For Matt creating wine is a liquid expression of his joy, hope and dreams and is inspired by peers, artists, chefs, brewers, designers and the outdoors. Matt's love of hunting and gathering has grown over the years and he enjoys learning from chefs that specialise in wild game.

More details on menu at

Page reviewed: 17 Oct 2018 12:01pm