Grand Chapitre 2016 – Christchurch

The Grand Chapitre was held on the 9 – 11 September in the recovering city of Christchurch. Five years ago, this city was hit by a devastating earthquake which destroyed a large percentage of the inner city along with many restaurants. It was a pleasure for members from New Zealand, Australia and the Cook Islands to experience the resilience and strength of character the people of Christchurch have shown in the recovery of their wonderful city. On the Friday evening a welcoming function was held at the Canterbury Club, a private members club which was established 145 years ago, and which includes members of the Chaine. Their President, Mrs Robyn Bisset, greeted members to their establishment endorsing their appreciation of their relationship with the Chaine. The Induction Ceremony and subsequent dinner was held at The George. Guests were welcomed with a Powhiri performed by the KoTane Maori Cultural Group. The Powhiri is designed to bring groups together in safety both physically and spiritually; a ritual of great beauty, it begins with a challenge from a fit, skillful warrior. This challenge was directed to the Officiating Officer, Norman Harrison and set the theme for a wonderful evening of bringing members from all walks of life and nations together to celebrate the induction of new members into the Chaine. Sunday found our members taking a Tram Tour of the City which for many showcased the devastation of the earthquake and the scale of the rebuild. Following this, members meet at The Classic Villa to enjoy a New Zealand barbecue presented by our 2014 Jeunes Chef, Carlita... read more

Wellington Bailliage @ Le Cordon Bleu

On the 3 December 2016, the Wellington Bailliage held their end of year function at Le Cordon Bleu. This was organized by Sébastien Lambert Technical Director / Head Pâtisserie Chef Lecturer at Le Cordon Bleu and Wellington Vice Conseiller Culinaire. The 9-course extravaganza was expertly prepared by Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand, Advanced Culinary Arts students. The students had already completed their Diplôme de Cuisine or Diplôme de Pâtisserie, and were now exploring more complex forms of gastronomy that made for a truly inspired... read more Marc Soper 2016 Chef of the year and winner of Best Ora King Dish 2016 New Zealand national hospitality competitions took place in Auckland NZ in August over 4 days the best of the best battled it out and competed for the top spots for placement across the country. I took part in the NZ chef of the Nation title, a title I had previously held back in 2005. To be eligible to compete in the NZ chef of the year class I first had to compete in a regional competition to move through to the next round, which was held in Wellington. The competition here was a 3-hour competition, where I had to prepare a 3 course menu for 4 people, reluctant of the region (Wellington / Wairarapa) and match each course with an appropriate beverage which I did so using amazing Wairarapa wines including Pinot noir from Te Kairanga Vineyard, Martinborough which is also owned by my boss Bill Foley. I was market on my kitchen skills, the taste and presentation, but also on the beverage match and the variety of local ingredients many of which I had hand selected or foraged for around my workplace of Wharekauhau Country Estate, which is suited on a 5500 ha farm, bordering on native bush and the coast. I was awarded gold and won the competition also being named as the recipient of the culinary excellence cup, as I had scored highly in this competition the year before being awarded gold. I am the only person in the history of this competition to have achieved gold medals. Auckland was a little different as there were three different competitions, over 2 days. The points overall would give the outcome of the supreme champion and be awarded the NZ title. WACS competition rules are used to judge the competitions and points gained dictate if and what medal is to be awarded per class. My first competition was a canape class, I was allocated 75 minutes to prepare and present 3 different style canapes 20 individual pieces of each, with service starting not before the 55 minutes. My canapes were Whangamata seared scallop on The drunken nanny soft goats cheese and garden beetroot puree, peas and caviar Modernised Wharekauhau farm Lamb shank ballotine bites wrapped in spinach topped with Genoese olive tapenade, fresh grape and hazelnut salsa Genoese fresh basil pesto scented rough puff pastry croute topped with maple roasted pear and whipped kikorangi blue cheese Whilst I... read more

Ortega Fish Shack Dinner – Wellington

Around 30 Chaine members and friends gathered for a convivial dinner at Wellington’s famous Ortega Fish Shack and Bar on Wednesday June 22. Dress was semi-formal and regalia was worn, but the atmosphere was friendly and informal, with a loud buzz of conversation soon filling the upstairs private room. Ortega maitre d’ Davey McDonald, well known for his food and wine matching skills, put together some really interesting matches for the three-course, multi-choice dinner, including Kahurangi Chardonnay with the creamed prawns with tagliatelle (deliciously garlicky!) and Murdoch James Pinot Noir with the mushrooms and goats cheese. This being a fish restaurant, most members opted for the fish served with a generous disc of herb butter, but another popular choice was the steak frites with maitre d’hotel butter, which has been on Ortega’s menu forever, ever since its previous incarnation as Café Bastille. After the meal the Chaine took the opportunity to wish Olivier Lacoua, manager of Wellington’s CQ Hotel, best luck for his participation in the Marathon de Sables next year, involving a 254 kilometre race across the Sahara. Amidst much hilarity, Olivier was a presented with a small gift from the Chaine – two over-sized jars of Vaseline, which he assured everybody was for a perfectly innocent use – to prevent chafing during the...