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Cook Islands chefs prepare for global challenge

Thursday 25 May 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Art, Features, Food

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Cook Islands chefs prepare for global challenge
Vou Williams will represent the Cook Islands at the Global Chefs Challenge Pacific Rim Semi Final competition, in the Global Chef Challenge Senior category, next month. SUPPLIED/23052410

Cook Islands chefs will feature in the Global Chefs Challenge Pacific Rim Semi Final event at the Arena in Auckland, New Zealand during the Fine Foods Festival next month from Sunday, June 25 to Tuesday, June 27.

The Cook Islands Chefs Association is a proud member of the World Association of Chefs Societies (World Chefs), and is one of seven countries that make up the Pacific Rim region.

Ovaia Liew, the Cook Islands Chefs Association finance director, said biennially, the different regions host the Global Chefs Challenge Semi Finals.

In the upcoming event, competing in the Global Young Chef category is John Simpson who is Rarotonga’s “Mapu Makona Kai”. The Tereora College Year 13 student is passionate about the culinary field.

Dayna Tuiravakai will compete in the Global Pastry Chef category, this being her third international competition, however, a first for her pastry chef specialist skills.

In the Global Chef Challenge senior category, Vou Williams will be competing. This will be his second international competition.

Williams has over a decade of experience in the food service industry, from kitchen steward to an executive chef and now co-owner of Bite Time Café, Body Fuel and Soul Café.

The travelling executives are culinary trainer Sam Timoko and Cook Islands Chefs Association president Karlene Taokia while the non-travelling member is in-country culinary trainer Ben Eddy.

This will be Cook Islands’ fourth appearance at the event. The last appearance was in 2019 in Melbourne, Australia when Williams first participated.

The gold and silver members from each category will represent the Pacific region and their country at the World Chefs Global Challenge which will be held in Singapore.

To support the team representing the country in New Zealand, the association will be holding a fundraiser tonight – the “Farm to Table” Quiz Night – at the Cook Islands Game Fishing Club. The event is fully booked out for participating teams.

“We have some great prizes and raffles (tonight). Meitaki maata to the businesses for supporting our event and to the sole traders for their wares and crafts,” said Liew.

The Chef’s Association would like to acknowledge Tereora College for the use of their kitchen facilities and to Prime Foods’ Dan Forsyth for the salmon used for the team’s entrée course training.

The next fundraising campaigns coming up are the ‘Canapes Taster’ on Thursday, June 1 at Soul Cafe and a three-course dinner on Thursday, June 15.

More information on the upcoming events can be found on the Cook Islands Chefs Association Facebook Page.