A group of school children watch Al Brown prepare a meal

The nationwide Root to Tip Competition, run by Garden to Table with the support of RaboDirect, has seen more than 400 year five and six school pupils from across New Zealand grate, slice, cook, create and plate a vegetable-based meal from ‘root to tip’, leaving little or no food waste.

The strongest competition entries from 10 regions across New Zealand have been identified and their dishes will be served up to a panel of judges including Garden to Table co-founder Catherine Bell and chef Al Brown.

Media are invited to attend the ‘Root to Tip’ competition finals. Photo and interview opportunities will be available with the Head Judge Al Brown and other chef judges, teachers, competing teams, representatives from Garden to Table and RaboDirect.

Brown said it’s important that people of all ages understand where their food comes from, and how to make the most of available ingredients and reduce food wastage.

“Root to Tip gives children an opportunity to learn important skills they can take into adulthood, from growing, cultivating and cooking food to learning about how to stretch ingredients further. Giving them the chance to get creative and dream up a dish that uses every part of a fruit or vegetable and seeing how proud they are of the finished product is just brilliant.”

The competition encourages children to get creative in the kitchen, while tackling the serious issue of food wastage. Students must attempt to source their produce locally from family, community or school gardens, and working in pairs, turn this into a creative, delicious two-course meal. The dishes will be judged for taste, creativity and minimising the amount of food wasted.

The winning pair will each receive a $1,000 NoticeSaver account with RaboDirect, plus one-year free membership to the Garden to Table programme for their school and a range of other kitchen items.