The Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards, now in their third year, challenge New Zealand’s best chefs to showcase their creativity and artistry with red meat in order to win five category awards, and the supreme award of Premier Master of Fine Cuisine.
Sixty-two of New Zealand’s top chefs from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island are set to show their skills with red meat as they vie for a prestigious award.
Judging co-ordinator Kerry Tyack has been involved with the awards from the start and says the quality increases with each year.
“We have always had a very high standard of dishes presented. The challenge for the judges is not to find a goodie, but to find a reason to drop any off. Most often they are very good”.
He says he and his judging team seek to find the dish that “makes best use of the Silver Fern Farms premium product”.
Tyack said chefs were now aware that with such a high quality meat product “you have got to be quite careful that you don’t overshadow the meat character of it by adding too much complexity or other ingredient”.
“For some chefs that has been a real eye opener.
“When you take such a great product you don’t have to do a lot to make it stand out. It’s a testimony to the quality of the product but it is also the way chefs love to work with ingredients and come to understand their essential qualities.”
Tyack said the focus on a single product – premium red meat, whether it be venison, lamb, beef or SILERE alpine origin merino – meant both chefs and the public got to know the qualities of the product.
“The judging form clearly states that the meat must be the hero of the dish and what chefs do to identify, and bring out, those qualities is where their creativity can step in. It makes it quite tough for us.”
Tyack said there was consistent quality across the country.
Finalists for the awards will be announced in November with a supreme winner announced early next year.