Heat goes on at home show grill

(from left) Sam Gasson from Moiety, Ken O'Connell from Bracken, Greg Piner from Vault 21 and Hannes Bareiter of Glenfalloch Gardens. Photo: Christine O'Connor
(from left) Sam Gasson from Moiety, Ken O'Connell from Bracken, Greg Piner from Vault 21 and Hannes Bareiter of Glenfalloch Gardens. Photo: Christine O'Connor
Temperatures will be rising in some Dunedin restaurant kitchens as their chefs prepare to go head to head in a competition first for the city. They tell Rebecca Fox they are ready for the challenge.

Bring it on. The sweat, the time pressure, the crowds, the mystery ingredients - they are ready for it.

''They'' are some of Dunedin's top chefs - Sam Gasson from Moiety, Greg Piner from Vault 21, Hannes Bareieter from Glenfalloch and Ken O'Connell from Bracken.

The group is stepping into the unknown - a Farm to Fork ''mystery box''-type competition being run for the first time at the Fresh Food Show at the Great Kiwi Home & Living Show at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Sunday, November 4.

They will be given time to prepare, but only one hour to cook, two servings each of an entree and main.

Their only cooking appliance, a gas barbecue each and a shared charcoal barbecue.

A selection of ''farmed'' proteins will be made available for them to choose from alongside an extensive pantry of ingredients.

At a recent meeting, a few worried looks were exchanged among the chefs but with the news culinary students from Otago Polytechnic will be helping them out, they became more confident that meeting the competition's goals is achievable.

''Come on, it'll be fun,'' Piner urged his fellow chefs.

''It's really exciting to be about to work alongside these guys and have some fun.''

O'Connell is an old hand at culinary competitions, having competed at culinary olympics as part of an Irish team before moving to New Zealand and was also selected to take part in a New Zealand team.

More recently, he has been joined by Piner in the Australian Culinary Federation Pacific Challenge Competition, Battle of the Pacific, winning the title in 2016.

O'Connell says while you are never confident going into a competition, he never lets the competition see that.

''You talk like you are going to win.''

He advises his fellow chefs that the best way to tackle competitions like this is to ''keep it simple''.

''Don't overcomplicate it as that is when things go wrong. Focus on the flavours.

''At the end of the day you are up against yourself more than anything, even if you are on stage with others.''

The chefs admitted cooking in front of a crowd would be different, as most of them enjoyed keeping in the background, out of sight at their restaurants.

At the end of the cook, the chefs will be judged by a panel, yet to be named, on their completed dishes. Marks will be given for innovation, presentation and taste.

The show is a partnership between Dunedin Venues and the Otago Daily Times.

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