IT’S ONLY FAIR with the current saturation of television cooking competition shows that vegetarianism gets its own slice of the competitive action, and here it is:
The winner of the inaugural New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2012 has been announced, and it’s Jinu Abraham, executive chef of Heritage Auckland.
Over 200 chefs and caterers submitted their favourite recipes featuring fresh, New Zealand-grown veg in the competition, but it was one of Abraham’s signature vegan dishes that slayed the judges, who unanimously voted for his entry of baby vegetables with olive, celeriac, candied walnut and macadamia cheese.
One of the judges, Adrian Brett-Chinnery, said that Abraham’s clever use of beetroot and macadamia, along with a great selection of seasonal fresh vegetables, swung the tables.
[Another of the judges, chef tutor at the Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore, goes by the unlikely name of Andy Gibb.]
“I am truly honoured to receive this prize,” said Abraham. It’s great to be rewarded for what I love to do every day. The vegan menu development at Heritage Auckland has been a journey and this win is a very exciting milestone on the way.”
The winning dish has been integrated into the winter menu at the Heritage Auckland, which has a dedicated vegan menu.
* Vegetables.co.nz instigated the award.