New Zealand BBQ Alliance head judge Greg Hart (left), festival organiser Tom Mcdonald, Stefan Apiata better known as “Stef the Maori” and Iti Stafford from Ahikā Pitmasters outside the Bond Store at a food pairing event. Photo: Supplied/22062727
A group of barbecue enthusiasts have met to pair meat with bourbon.
The Monday event was part of the larger Raro Fire and Food festival which is in partnership with Cook Islands Tourism. The festival is an extension of the Barbecue Pitmasters Competition held last year.
Festival organiser Tom Mcdonald said the tasting at the Bond Store
on Rarotonga was to showcase what could be done with barbecue food.
“Obviously some people think barbecue is just throwing something
on a gas hotplate but obviously it’s something different, so it’s good for them
to come down and give it a try.”
Mcdonald said it was also an opportunity for people to meet
special New Zealand guests who have come down for the festival which started on
“These guys have travelled to come and see us and help spread the
word of barbecue and help show case what might be in store Saturday with
One New Zealand guest is Stefan Apiata, better known to his social
media followers as Stef the Maori.
Apiata has 125, 000 Facebook followers, 25, 000 Instagram
followers and around 25 thousand TikTok followers.
“I started off just doing cooking videos for fun and it took off
pretty quickly,” Apiata said.
Apiata started with open fire cooking but now mainly focuses on
barbecue. He will be one of the judges in the Barbecue Pitmasters
Competition which is the finale festival event.
Head Judge from the New Zealand BBQ Alliance, Greg
Hart will also be judging the event.
Hart said barbecue competitions are getting “bigger
and bigger” all the time in New Zealand.
“Whenever you bring something like this to town, the first
bite of a brisket or the first bite of a real rib, it just blows peoples mind
and that’s where I really get a kick out of it.
“Back home in New Zealand where I live, prior to me coming
home and cooking brisket for eight, 10- hours they were so used to just boiling
the hell out of it in a pot.”