Taking centre stage at this year’s New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge are beetroots and Brussels sprouts. Celebrating the very best of freshly grown New Zealand vegetables, the premier vegetable competition challenges Kiwi chefs to create delicious and inspired meals across the three categories of breakfast/brunch, lunch and dinner/fine dining.

This year’s competition has been taken to a whole new level with the inclusion of tofu, falafel and vegetarian bean sausages in the ingredients list.
Pip Duncan of and the competition organiser and food services consultant, said as plant-based diets continue to grow in popularity, chefs need to provide a greater range of choice of vegetable dishes.

“With a growing number of people choosing to eat a plant-based diet as well as those who just want to try new ways with vegetables, chefs are being called upon to create imaginative and tasty vegetable dishes. Vegetables are no longer just the domain of dinner offerings and feature on menus at all times of the day,” said Duncan.

“The competition provides and unrivalled opportunity to not only learn new skills but attract new customers, providing a winning combination for both chef and restaurant.”

Each finalist will receive a New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge Excellence Award Plaque and the winners of each category will be announced in July.

The finalists of the New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2016 are:


Adam Thorley-Symes – The Shack, Raglan
Beetroot and tofu tian, pressed kumara, herb puree, hazelnut, quince and figs.

Jinu Abraham, Executive Chef – Heritage Hotel, Auckland
Tofu scramble with sausage pattie and palette of potato.

Terry Lowe – Hewitt House, Napier Girls High School, Napier
Beetroot, apple, chia and cinnamon tofu stack.


Jared Gee, Head Chef – Thomas Green Public House and Dining Room, Gore
Baby beetroot and Blue River Feta

Jonny Taggard – The Redoubt, Te Awamutu
Smoked Firm Tofu with a hangi of agria potato and artichoke pannacotta.

Kirisi Filipo – Wharekauhau Estate, Palliser Bay
Spiced Red Pepper Olive Grove Falafel stuffed Cabbage, roasted Kumara, with Kawakawa, Pistachio, Chilli & cashew nut crusted parsnip, goats curd, and beetroot gel.


Chetan Pangam, Executive Chef – One 80 Restaurant, Copthorne Hotel, Wellington
Endless possibilities – carrots and cauliflower

Drew-Anne Weeds – Peppers Clearwater, Christchurch
‘Out of this Earth’

Marc Soper, Executive Chef - Wharekauhau Estate, Palliser Bay
Agria potato crepe, spinach tofu mousse, butternut falafel cannelloni, seasonal vegetables, nuts and seeds, lemon olive oil emulsion.