Inspired by television's MasterChef, EIT staged a cooking challenge for delegates attending a national conference held recently in Hawke's Bay.
Highly-regarded for its chef training programmes, EIT's School of Hospitality was approached by the conference organisers and invited to hold the event for delegates who enjoy cooking and indulging their taste for fine cuisine.
The 30 who took part rated it such a success that Head of School Jenny Robertson says EIT is now considering offering the package to corporates and for other conferences.
"Chef tutor Mark Caves put a lot of time into the planning, and that helped make the event a lot of fun for all concerned."
The mixed group of men and women was split into four teams, so while one half of each team took part in a food and wine matching class and a blind food tasting in Scholars Restaurant, the team's other members worked on a cooking challenge in EIT's training kitchen.
After an hour, the team members swapped around.
Mark Caves devised an ambitious menu for the amateur chefs.
Each team was asked to asked to prepare, cook and plate one of four dishes - assorted sushi and rice paper rolls with dipping sauce; sous vide salmon, prawn dumping with laksa foam and seared scallops on caper dressing; chicken pocketed with a mushroom and spinach farce, jerusalem artichoke puree, kumara gnocchi and roast heirloom vegetables; and chocolate mazarin cake with lemon bavarois and chocolate stout mousse.
The teams were each assigned a student chef to guide them in replicating their dish. While one half of the team was asked to prepare and cook the dish and the other half added the final touches and did the plating.
Then it was time to lunch out on their efforts.
So what did the chefs de "party" think of their cooking adventure?
A member of the sushi-making team, Wendy Hollings of Christchurch said: "I've always wanted to do this. We watch MasterChef and think we belong there. It's a fantastic thing."
Debbie Middlemass of Hastings said she was impressed by the knowledge of her team's student chef, final -year EIT student Emma Druitt.
Whipping up a laksa foam, Aaron Rackham of Auckland said the seafood main was a complex dish so his team had chosen the best of their amateur chefs - which naturally included himself - to tackle the harder job, doing the preparation and cooking.
And Jo Curran from the North Shore said: "I love watching MasterChef. We've got a few avid devotees in our group."
Having organised the event, Mark Caves concluded there would be little that needed changing if the event became a more regular EIT offering.
"It was quite involved planning it, but it all went really well. In fact, one participant enjoyed it so much that he now wants to pursue his passion and train to become a chef!"
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