This year’s National Salon being staged in Auckland from July 28-31 is a truly national event with a number of judges travelling the country to spot talent at various regional events.

The Salon features wide ranging competitions including Chef of the Year, the Dilmah High Tea challenge final and the Nestle Toque d’Or. Other events cover the popular Curry Cup, Kiwi Kids Can Cook promotion, Barista and Bartender events and a strong emphasis on secondary school events.

A major change this year is the requirement by all entrants in the “of the year” competitions to have competed in one of eight regional competitions to qualify.

Of special interest is the first staging of the Rookie Cook of the Year contest oipen to young chefs under 25 but not under training. It’s a two-hour event focused on skill and technique in presenting a restaurant style main course and either an entre or dessert inside the time frame. The judge is former Chef of the Year William Mordido