Local and international students make their mark! Competing in the NZ Hospitality Championships 2017, in association with NZChefs, the NZMA team of 70 this year were thrilled to win six Gold, 46 Silver and 24 Bronze medals, plus seven Class Winners awards, the Training Service Person of the Year and WorldSkills Challenge.

One of the team members, Monica Watson (Xlayi Luo) was the Class Winner with a silver medal in the Salmon Training category. Her winning dish was called Green Tea Infused Akaroa Salmon. It’s a special fusion dish because it contains green tea as the unique ingredient. Monica was inspired to use green tea after a visit to a tea estate, which evoked aromas and memories of her Asian heritage.

As luck would have it, Monica’s mentors at NZMA, Chef Paul Yen and Chef Loreto Bembo, both have an Asian background and extensive experience in the industry. She was able to discuss the cooking methods for salmon and the presentation on the plate, which would maximise the tea flavour, while not overpowering the beauty and nature of Akaroa salmon.

Support from the tutors at NZMA is a critical point of student development and inspires them to create their own signature style.

Monica continues to gain as much experience as possible in different cooking environments. Her dream is to open her own business and spread her passion for cooking, while showcasing the art of culinary skills to other people.