Young chefs from around New Zealand will be sharpening their knives in a bid to impress some of the country’s most successful chefs and win a place in the country’s premier secondary schools student culinary competition.

The National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge (NSSCC) is kicking off with ten regional competitions until July and the winning teams from each of the regional finals will battle it out in the grand final in Auckland on August 30.

Students from year 12 or 13 go head-to-head in a live kitchen cook off to produce four portions of entrée and main meals in just 90 minutes. The overall national winning team will then fly to Sydney to compete in the International Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge.

Students will be scored across some areas including food preparation, hygiene, presentation, taste and use of New Zealand chicken and fresh NZ-grown vegetables and potatoes. Ben Bayly (The Grove and Baduzzi head chef), Tim Hishon (Orphan’s Kitchen head chef) and Mark Wylie (top chef and owner of CaterPlus) are just a few of the judges on this year’s panel.