Later this month top chefs from New Zealand and Australia will go head to head in the first-ever Australasian Tapas Competition, battling it out for the grand title, and the chance to represent Australasia in the prestigious World Tapas Competition in Valladolid, Spain.

Competitors in the high-pressure cook-off will be tasked with creating five innovative portions of tapas in just 25 minutes. Dishes will be evaluated by a panel of top foodies including judges from Spain, the executive chef of Cordis Auckland by Langham Hospitality Group, and an esteemed chef from Nestle, the world’s largest food and beverage company.

Already leading chefs from Sky City, Sudima and Millennium Hotels have signed up for the challenge, which is expected to draw contestants from both sides of the ditch.

The event will be held at Ignite Colleges’ state-of-the-art cookery school in Manukau, Auckland on September 29, starting at 9am. Competition organiser, Ignite Colleges general manager and NZ Chefs Auckland President Jasbir Kaur, is thrilled to be launching the competition Down Under.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for New Zealand and Australian chefs,” said Kaur. “It is a competition that will challenge them to push their culinary boundaries, and the winner will have the chance to experience cutting-edge cuisine in Spain - the world capital of tapas - on an all-expenses paid trip.”

No stranger to Spain herself, last year Kaur spent three months working at Michelin-starred Disfrutar, in Barcelona, and was then invited to compete in Valladolid’s 2017 World Tapas Competition, where she wowed judges with her smoked chocolate and buckwheat cracker with Horopito lamb and cardamom flan.

The winner of the upcoming Australasian competition will go on to compete against 14 other tapas chefs from all around the world, in Valladolid from November 5 – 7, when the Spanish city plays host to the world’s biggest food cooking show, which also includes the 14th National Pinchos and Tapas Competition, and the World Tapas Festival.