Wild food contest local focus

Arrowtown's Shaun Fa'Amalepe with his son, Lennox (then aged 5) after winning the inaugural...
Arrowtown's Shaun Fa'Amalepe with his son, Lennox (then aged 5) after winning the inaugural Glenorchy Local Wild Food Challenge last year. The competition is back for a second time and is being held next Saturday. Photo by Laurence Belcher.
Budding and experienced chefs are being asked to find inspiration close to home for the second annual Glenorchy Local Wild Food Challenge, being held at the head of the lake on February 23.

Competition founder Bill Manson said this year's contest - open to professionals and amateurs alike - challenged people to create dishes using wild ingredients from their surrounding environment.

Last year's inaugural Glenorchy competition was won by Arrowtown's Shaun Fa'Amalepe with his dish of poached fillet of lemon sole and muttonbird duo, ingredients sourced during a hunting expedition to Southland and Titi Island, near Stewart Island.

The Local Wild Food Challenge had gone global since it was first held in Eastbourne, Wellington, in 2009, events also having been held on the island of Martha's Vineyard, an affluent United States summer colony, and in Punkaharju, near Helsinki in Finland.

Two more events had been scheduled for this year, in Savoie in the French Alps on April 14 and on the Hawaiian island of Maui on November 17.

''The competition is designed to encourage an understanding of our relationship with our environment and highlight local skills in hunting, gathering, fishing, cooking and foraging,'' Mr Manson said.

''Contestants can make any kind of dish they want - hot, cold, liquid, frozen - as long as it includes at least one wild ingredient.

''However, the more local and wild ingredients the better.

''The stories from contestants on how they procured their ingredients is as important as the taste of the dish itself,'' he said.

The competition is supported by local businesses through sponsorship and prizes and will be held at the Glenorchy Cafe from 3pm next Saturday.

Entrants are encouraged to pre-register by emailing info@localwildfoodchallenge.com. However, late entries will be accepted before 6pm on the day.

Mr Fa'Amalepe, of the Boatshed Bistro and Cafe in Queenstown, will be one of this year's judges, along with Kate Scott, of Rees Valley Station, and Greg Piner, of Pier 24 Restaurant in Dunedin.

All dishes must be pre-prepared, although a hot plate, oven and grill will be available for final searing or grilling.

Only one entry is allowed per competitor and dishes will be judged on ingredients, taste, presentation and effort.

Entry is free, and there $3000 in prizes is available.

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