Heaven and Jackson secure finalist spots in Nestlé Golden Chefs Hat Award

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Chefs Sam Heaven from the Park Hyatt in Auckland and Jamie Jackson who works at the Crockett Restaurant and Bar in Christchurch are busy sharpening up their knives to take on the competition after being named finalists in the Nestlé Golden Chefs Hat Award.

Chef Sam Heaven

Sam Heaven

Sam recently secured a place in the Nestlé Golden Chefs Hat Award finals after serving up, via video, an inspirational dish comprising rehydrated sunchoke with dry-aged lamb heart, thermochromic feijoa kombucha, wild herbs, New Zealand truffle, rice koji, Australian bush berry and pickled moss.


Sam says ‘cheffing’ is in his blood.“I’m a third-generation hospitality worker and my grandfather and father were both pastry chefs. I really wanted to follow in their footsteps but also carve out my own journey drawing on their passion for the industry.”

Chef Jamie Jackson

Jamie Jackson

His South Island counterpart, Jamie Jackson, is a young chef who has always set his sights high since an early age.


“One of the best bits of advice I’ve ever been given is just to never stop learning. We work in an industry that’s constantly evolving, so sometimes it can be hard to keep up. Being open to always wanting to learn from anyone at any time goes a long way towards being successful in this industry.”


To secure his spot in the finals, Jamie wowed the judges with a stunning chocolate dessert. The dish comprised: pliable chocolate ganache, dehydrated chocolate mousse, salted cocoa gel, lime curd, white chocolate sorbet, aerated chocolate, and a nasturtium garnish.


More about the competition


Both Sam and Jamie will go head-to-head against each other in the grand final later this year. At the same time, they’ll also be competing against eight other competitors representing Australia.


The overall winner of the event will be awarded an AUD$10,000 cash prize to further their culinary career.


This year, the Nestlé Golden Chefs Hat Award celebrates a 55 year anniversary. It offers emerging young chef talent with a platform to accelerate their careers and become the culinary leaders of tomorrow. Key event partners are NZChefs and the Australian Culinary Federation.


2019 Finalists

Last years talent - 2019 Competition Finalists


Faced with the challenges of this year, Golden Chefs quickly adapted into a virtual medium. Aspiring chefs from New Zealand and Australia were invited to take part by sending in videos of their top culinary creations. This is the first year that the competition has crossed the Tasman to include New Zealand competitors.


The digital entry format saw a host of young Kiwi chefs put their culinary skills to the test, showcasing themselves and their best dishes.


NZChefs National President Hughie Blues says it’s incredibly refreshing, in such a stressful time, to work alongside our partners not only here in New Zealand with Nestlé Professional, but also in Australia with the Australian Culinary Federation.


“Having the opportunity for New Zealand chefs to be part of the Golden Chefs Hat competition and compete against their Ozzy counterparts is a huge plus."


“Given the number of New Zealand entries, and the quality and passion shown throughout only goes to prove that, despite the challenges at present, our chefs still have the drive to compete and be the best they can. I wish our two finalists all the best and I will be watching the live cook off with a close eye.”


Watch as our two Golden Chef’s New Zealand Grand Finalists take you through their epic dish creations.


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