UCOL cookery student Zach Meads is preparing for the NZ Hospitality Championships with a fundraising dinner that will give people a taste of what he’s got planned for the competition. Meads and UCOL chef lecturer Mark Smith will be holding a fundraising dinner at Cooks Bar & Café in Marton to help cover the costs of competing at the national competition. Meads will be competing in the Commis Chef of the Year category at July’s New Zealand Hospitality Championships in Auckland. The competition involves preparing a three-course meal consisting of a vegetarian entrée, beef main, and dessert of his choice. For the fundraiser, Meads will be cooking a three-course meal similar to what he will make in the competition. Money raised will help cover the cost of travel, accommodation, and ingredients.

Currently studying a New Zealand Diploma in Cookery (Advanced), Meads said he is excited about competing against the best young chefs in the country.

“I’m more confident this year after having a few more competitions under my belt,” said Meads.

“I want to help inspire students and future students to keep going hard at achieving their goals.”

Meads booked his place in the nationals after winning a gold medal at the recent NZ Chefs Hawke’s Bay Salon. He took out the Desserts (Live Class) Trainee Category for his Lemon, Lime and Bitters Cheesecake where he had an hour to make a dessert that included two ingredients produced in Hawke’s Bay. The ingredient of choice for Meads was Village Press citrus infused olive oil and Mission Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc.

“I had been working on another dessert, but I thought that one would be good for the national competition.”

Meads’ success in Hawke’s Bay adds to his growing list of accolades. Last year he won gold and silver awards in the Commis Chef category at the National Salon, before going on to claim silver at the New Zealand WorldSkills Competition.

For more information or tickets to the fundraising dinner contact Mark Smith on