Tino Passano, head chef of Tantalus Estate Vineyard on Waiheke Island has been named the Australasian Tapas Champion for 2019. With this win, Passano has won himself a ticket to Spain later this year to compete at the World Tapas competition.
The competition consisted of 27 chefs from around the country fighting for the top spot. Passano’s winning dish, an innovative take on the classic Kiwi sausage roll, consisted of Duncan venison, cacao, suet and harakeke. Competitors were given 25 minutes to produce their tapas dish and were scored based on originality, presentation, flavour and business potential.
“I love sausage rolls myself, and I wanted to try something new and different with suet pastry,” said Passano. “To come out and do something like this is a challenge, but I like it. It takes you out of your comfort zone and helps you keep growing as a chef.”
This year, second place went to Alok Vasanth from the Tasting Shed, with third place going to Tamara Johnson, an Ignite Colleges student.