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Dunedin chefs in this year's Farm to Fork Chef Challenge are already preparing the sledges they will dish out to their fellow competitors.
Glenfalloch Gardens executive chef and 2018 challenge winner Hannes Bareiter will defend his title against Vault 21 and Prohibition group executive chef Greg Piner, Moiety owner and chef Sam Gasson, Emerson's head chef Andy Aitken, Cucina (Oamaru) owner and chef Pablo Tacchini, and a ''Wild Card Chef'', who will all go head-to-head in a live cooking challenge.
''There will be a bit of banter on stage again this year,'' Mr Piner said.
''What people don't see is us making smart remarks to each other ... like, 'have you started cooking yet?' when I'm halfway through.''
The majority of chefs said they were simmering their sledges, seasoning them, ready for a spicy insult.
But when Mr Bareiter was asked what he was brewing, he kept his cards close.
''I haven't got any. I'm just too nice.''
Despite the quips, Mr Piner said the competitors respected each other's work and they were looking forward to working together.
''I think chefs relish interaction with other chefs. It's nice to get out of the kitchen and spend some time together, because everyone's so busy in their own little restaurant.''
During the challenge, the chefs will be given a mystery box full of fresh local ingredients and 90 minutes to plan and deliver a starter and main course.
Mr Gasson said the wild card chef was making the competitors nervous because they were an ''unknown''.
They would be a member of the public, likely an amateur cooking enthusiast, but they may be good enough to damage a professional chef's ego.
''With YouTube, cooking shows and cook books, someone with cash can learn to cook very well at home.
''They can have a 9-5 day job and spend another 5 hours cooking at home, and get very technical and very good at cooking. That makes me a little bit nervy.''
The challenge will be held on November 3 and is part of the 2019 Home and Living Show (November 2-3) at Forsyth Barr Stadium.