Some of New Zealand’s leading hospitality figures will be judging this years New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge.

Geoff Scott, chef/owner, Vinnies and Andy Gibb, chef tutor at Singapore’s Nanyang Polytechnic are returning to judge this year’s competition and are joined by chef and life health foods product developer Bevan Gray, and Hospitality NZ’s operations manager, Tracy Scott. The judging panel is led by chef Mark Wylie.

Mark Wylie said the New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge showcases the skills, innovation and expertise of industry chefs with vegetable cooking.

“We are fortunate in New Zealand to have such a wonderful diversity of fresh, local produce and it will be exciting to see what creative masterpieces unfold this year,” said Wylie.

“Vegetarian meals are now widely recognised and accepted as an integral part of any establishment’s menu and as an industry we need to promote and encourage chefs to keep exploring and pushing the boundaries.”

Geoff Scott sees the competition as a specific arena for New Zealand grown vegetables to take the centre stage and allow excellence to be recognised on a culinary, artistic and technical level.

“I believe the flow on effect of these innovative creative ideas is actually very powerful and this leads to these being shared, used and incorporated into other hospitality avenues and ultimately into our daily lives,” said Scott.

“While winning one of the awards is of huge personal gratification to the chef and has the potential to bring considerable financial rewards to the establishment, it also benefits all of those involved. With all the Challenge dishes being tested, trialled and sometimes even served in restaurants across the country, the chefs behind the scenes doing the mise-en-place and the wait staff explaining the components of the dish to their customers are all included in striving for excellence which is a very rewarding goal.”


The New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2016 runs from 1 March to 30 April and judging criteria across the three categories of breakfast/brunch, lunch and dining/fine dining include:

Creativity and innovation


Use of fresh New Zealand grown vegetables


Complementary flavours

Appropriate preparation and cooking methods

The competition attracted over 200 hundred entries from chefs last year. Winners will be announced in July, and will each be awarded a New Zealand Vegetarian Dish winner plate, a Samsung 1100w-semi commercial programmable microwave and an Air New Zealand mystery weekend voucher worth $1200.

For more information on how to enter the 2016 Vegetarian Dish Challenge visit: