A new competition is set to teach young Cantabrians a thing or two about healthy eating, spearheaded by food education charity Garden to Table and Christchurch City Council.

The competition is open to all year 7 and 8 students in the Christchurch area, who will be asked to pair up and design a two-course vegetarian menu with a specific emphasis on food waste. Four pairs will go through to the final – a cook-off held at Casebrook Intermediate.

The winners will receive a tour of BearLion Foods, a top restaurant in Christchurch, as well as a guided tour of ARA Nutrition Campus, a Southern Hospitality prize pack and a one year school membership to the Garden to Table Online Programme, valued at $299.

Aimed at raising awareness of food education in New Zealand schools, The Root to Tip Challenge has caught the attention of local chefs Alesha Bilbrough-Collins chef at BearLion Foods, Alex Davies of Gatherings Restaurant and Living Winebar and renowned New Zealand chef Jonny Schwass who will judge the final dishes.

“I love the idea of encouraging kids to see the value in minimising waste by using every last bit of an ingredient and it’s through practical and curriculum integrated programmes like Garden to Table that teach our children this fundamental life skill,” said Jonny, noting the importance of food education as part of the New Zealand curriculum.

Other local food personalities involved include Community Nutrition Advisor at CDHB Janne Pasco and Garden to Table founder and chairperson Catherine Bell.

To enter, students can download the required forms at www.gardentotable.org.nz.