The heat was on at the biggest culinary competition in New Zealand when 500 secondary and tertiary students took over Wintec’s Centre for Hospitality kitchens during the 2018 Waikato Culinary Fare.

Students from Hamilton Girls’ High School took out the top school award and a record four golds with distinction were handed out to entrants in the intermediate school cupcake class.

Wintec Centre for Hospitality team manager Peter Radojkovich said the competition attracts more secondary school entries year on year and increasingly, secondary school students are entering the fare’s live competitions and mystery box section.

“Culinary Fare is an opportunity for our young chefs of the future to experience friendly competition under pressure, although it was noticeable how calm and confident the competitors were this year.”

In its 14th year, Waikato Culinary Fare promotes cooking as a career and aims to nurture young talent by providing a culinary competition platform for secondary school and tertiary students. The competition managed by Wintec and Cater Plus grows year on year, and this year attracted students from Wintec, Toi Ohomai and New Zealand Management Academies as well as representation from 25 high schools. Teams travelled from as far as Auckland, Thames, Taupo and Rotorua.