The event, now in its third year, includes competitions for cooking, table setting, coffee and cocktail making, and housekeeping.
Held at the Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre (HTTC), the event kicked off with cooking demonstrations on Friday, followed by the competitions on Saturday. The range of competitions included ‘static classes’, where competitors made their entry at home and presented it for judging, as well as competitions where industry members make their entries from scratch.
Cook Islands Chefs Association president Sam Timoko said the event was a huge success and helped set the bar for members of the hospitality and tourism industry.
A highlight of the day was the barista championship, where competitors had a 30-minute window to check and set up their equipment, prepare and present beverages, and clean up. The barista championship was judged by sensory judges Colleen Abbott, Ben Bergman and Krick Barraud, as well as technical judge Neil Dearlove, and The Caf’s Shontal Royal took out the top prize of $400 cash, and a trophy.
The event also included the ‘cocktail master’ competition, sponsored by Bond Liquor Store, where judges Trish Barton and Donye Numa chose Jon George as the winner.
The high-pressure ‘Magic Box’ event saw competitors given a box of ingredients – chosen by Timoko - which they then used to create a dish. Teriatua Boxhorn-Cuthers came out on top, with a dish of glazed lamb with crisp pastry, star fruit ragout and roasted kumara.
Static classes included entries of iced chocolate cake, won by Makayla Ibbetson, a celebration cake, won by Astarlii Taokia, and banana muffins and a cold dessert, both won by Scott Karaiti. Crown Beach Resort chef Teraitua Boxhorn-Cuthers came out on top with his entries of soup and pasta, while Brian Rongo won the Island Kaikai competition.
The table-setting competition, where judges Donye Numa chose Jon George were looking for symmetry and attention to detail, was won by Pacific Resort’s Christine Fryer, while the bed-making competition was won by Pacific Resort’s Anna Daniels.