Chef competition heats up in Dubai

23 September 2015: Anticipation is building as 10 of the UAE’s top professional chefs have been named as finalists in the Taste New Zealand Chef Competition.

Professional chefs from across the UAE were invited to submit a creative recipe, using at least one New Zealand ingredient, along with a picture of their dish.

After receiving the highest number of entries in the history of the competition, the Taste New Zealand 2015 judging panel have selected ten finalists to compete in the final cook-off.

 The Taste New Zealand 2015 finalists:

  • Rahil Rathod, Radisson Blue Dubai Deira Creek - Seared Silver Fern Lamb Rack
  • Adil Shaikh, The Address Montgomerie - Trio of Lamb
  • Sudath Rodrigo, Radisson Blue Dubai Deira Creek - Oreo and Manuka Honey Cake
  • Prasad Sadvikar, Emirates Flight Catering - Pavlova with Kiwi Custard
  • Vishal Khulbe, The Oberoi, Dubai - Cod with Baby Spinach, Braised Mussels, Winter Peas and Salmon Roe
  • Sivabalan Krishnan, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai - Assiette of New Zealand Lamb
  • Mohd. Rene Johari, The Rib Room at Jumeirah Emirates Towers - Taste of the Fern
  • Regiemar Damasco, Atlantis The Palm - Chicken New Zealand in Three Ways
  • Johannes Hansen, J W Marriot Marquis Dubai - Taste of Aotearoa
  • Chloe St. Cyr, Hilton - Lamb in the Garden

Haylon Smith, New Zealand Trade Commissioner to the UAE said, "We’re thrilled with the calibre of the finalists, no doubt this talented group of chefs will highlight the fantastic quality and taste of New Zealand product with each dish they create, and reinforce the position New Zealand holds as a premium supplier of produce into the UAE."

The ten finalists will select a professional chef partner to assist them at the final cook-off, which is a new addition to the format of the competition this year. The competition requires the participating chefs to prepare a set of five canapés selecting ingredients from a pantry full of New Zealand products.

To ensure a transparent and fair judging process, the identity of the creator of each dish will be unknown to the judging panel. The panel includes some of the finest foodies in the UAE culinary world, including, Reif Othman, Executive Chef at Zuma, Robin Padgett, Emirates Senior Vice President of Aircraft Catering, Colin Clague, Executive Chef at Jean GeorgeDubai, and Bruce Woolner, Operations Manager, Commercial and Development Manager and Product Development Manager at Chef Middle East.

The competition, which celebrates New Zealand’s food and beverage produce, encourages professional chefs to get creative, while showcasing the variety and quality of New Zealand food produce available in the UAE.

The winner of Taste New Zealand 2015 will be announced at an Awards Night at Purobeach, The Conrad Dubai on Monday 13 April.

For more information about the competition visit