Current WITT student Nerys Whelan is set to achieve a culinary first when she vies to compete at the world’s most rigorous cooking competition, Bocuse d’Or in Singapore. This is the first time that a New Zealand team has been invited to compete at the Asia-Pacific Selection phase of the prestigious event held every two years in Lyon France.

Each of the 24 countries invited to compete at the competition put forward a team comprising a top chef and commis assistant.

Whelan said her selection as the New Zealand commis chef came about after the team she was in last year won the Nestle Toque d’Or national student culinary competition.

“After winning that event, I decided to send my resume to Blanket Bay Lodge Executive Chef, Corey Hume, to enquire about job vacancies,” said Whelan.

She didn’t hesitate to apply when asked by Hume if she was interested and was delighted to be selected to assist Chef David Schofield from Auckland who is the other part of the team.

The duo will head to Singapore this month for the Asia-Pacific Selection which takes place from 14-15 April. They will compete against teams from eight other countries including, Australia, Singapore, China, India, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Indonesia and Japan. The top five teams from that event will then go on to compete at the grand final in France in January 2017.

Each team is given five and a half hours to create one elaborate meat platter presentation for eight people, plus three original garnishes, and plate-up 10 portions of a fish dish. The meat platter is presented to a panel of judges who are some of the most illustrious chefs in the world.