Students cook their way to nationals

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Pupils at Botany Downs Secondary College took out a regional culinary challenge.

Botany Downs Secondary College students have won a regional culinary challenge and will now compete in the nationals in September.

Wei-Zin Chan and Ashley Hewlett, with team manager Angie Thompson, won the Auckland South, East and West regional culinary challenge, National Secondary School Culinary Challenge (NSSCC).

The student team will now face off against the seven other regional winners at the grand final of NSSCC on September 7.

The students will go head-to-head against their peers in a live kitchen environment closely watched by a judging panel consisting of some of the best chefs in the Pacific, including culinary professional Mark Wylie as chief judge, New Zealand chef and restaurateur Ben Bayly and Pacific Rim continental director for WorldChefs Peter Wright.

“The NSSCC is grass roots. It’s where it all begins,” Bayly says.

“It’s (high school) a very important time, so for kids to get exposure to hospitality at high school is awesome.”

NSSCC event manager Pip Duncan says that in the grand final the students will have 90 minutes maximum where they have to reproduce four portions of entree and four portions of a main course using a supreme of chicken from Waitoa Chicken.

The winners will be announced at the NSSCC Awards Dinner that night with the champion school receiving a Moffat E23M3 oven.

There is more than $12,000 in prizes to be won in the grand final.