Next Generation of Golden Chefs
Hughie Blues, a NorthTec | Te Pūkenga tutor for cookery, has recently returned from Melbourne, where he was one of the judges for The Nestlé Golden Chefs Hat Awards.
The Nestlé Golden Chefs Hat Awards is designed to highlight up-and-coming chefs and students. It starts with 15 regional cook-offs around Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia and ends with 12 finalists competing at Fine Foods Australia, this year in Melbourne. The winner gets a $10k cash prize and there are multiple other awards up for grabs.
“The awards are all about nurturing the young chefs, the next generation. It’s aimed at those 25 years and under,” Explains Hughie Blues, NorthTec | Te Pūkenga cookery tutor. “This year a South Island chef, Gabby Sanders won and got the $10,000 prize. The money is in cash and intends to help you set yourself up and better your career.”
Mr. Blues is the current National Ambassador for New Zealand Chefs, which is how he ended up in Melbourne judging these up-and-coming chefs along with two other judges.
“I facilitate the judging element and the logistics of the competition here in New Zealand,” explains Mr. Blues. “I judge the regionals here, and then myself and Darren Wright (Brand Ambassador for Allied meats and Captain of the New Zealand Culinary Team) go over to judge the finals in Australia.”
This is the third year that Aotearoa New Zealand has participated in the competition and the second time they have won.
“We’ve got some amazing Chefs in this country, and we hold our own over there. It’s great to win this year. Last year we had to run the competition remotely, due to COVID so it was nice to be able to do it in person again.”
Not only does Mr. Blues get to help young chefs make a name for themselves, but the competition also provides him with his professional development, keeps him up to date in the industry, and allows him to continue to teach the next generation of Chefs.
“I came back inspired. I got to see new, more modern techniques. It keeps my knowledge current and then I can come back and teach it to new students.”