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CPIT Salon Culinaire - 22 years of promoting hospitality industry excellence

One rugby player, Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, 45 individual classes, three new titles, 11 winners and 20 kg of coffee beans all contributed to the success of the 22nd CPIT Salon Culinaire held at the Christchurch Town Hall, 30 June - 1 July.

Salon Culinaire competitions are the hospitality industry's equivalent of the Olympics, internationally prestigious and a career stepping stone for top talent. Plated dishes were perfectly presented with ostrich, venison, pheasant, duck and seafood alongside the more traditonal Canterbury Lamb. As always, the buffet centrepieces drew much attention, with this year's gold medal going to Sudath Wijewardeme for his work on Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. A carving of All Black captain Tama Umunga was another talking piece.

The Christchurch Town Hall hosts this annual extravanga of cooking, baking, cocktail mixing, coffee making and imaginative culinary and creative displays. The stage is set for dramatically tense competition - and that happens in every class and category! Cooking onstage is not for the fainthearted, with the clock ticking, spotlights beaming, watchful judges prowling and a good audience encouraging their favourites.

The prestigous competition attracts the South Island's top restaurants, chefs, sommeliers and baristas in the biggest event of its type. This year's outstanding performer was a relative newcomer to the Christchurch hospitality scene, Simno's Moroccan Restaurant, which won four major titles including South Island Restaurant of the Year.

Past winners have achieved national and international success, such as the multi-award winning Le Bon Bolli (Restaurant of the Year 1999) and Carl Sara, 2003's Barista of the Year, who is currently in Italy representing New Zealand at the World Barista Championships.

Robert Timms CPIT Culinaire Expo was a new feature in this year's Salon Culinaire reflecting the recent development of a "coffee culture" in New Zealand. Most Polytechnics now run barista courses and the title for Barista of the Year was fiercely sought after and won by Kyle Martin of Vic's Café and Bar in Christchurch. One hundred litres of milk was used as entrants worked hard to impress the judges with the taste, presentation, extraction time, ratios and texture of their masterpieces.

Results of the 2004 CPIT Salon Culinaire - South Island "Of the Year" Winners

Moffat South Island Restaurant of the Year:
Simo's Moroccan Restaurant - Mohamed Abbari, David Rumens, Rob Harrison

New Zealand Pork South Island Chef of the Year:
Allan Newton, Cotswold Hotel Nestle

New Zealand South Island Commis Chef of the Year:
Guy Stanaway, The George Hotel

CPIT South Island Waiter of the Year:
Rob Harrison, Simo's Moroccan Restaurant

CPIT South Island Junior Waiter of the Year:

Jessica Birse, Tiffany's Restaurant

Canter Valley South Island Kitchen Team of the Year:

Simo's Moroccan Restaurant - Mohamed Abbari, David Rumens

Robert Timms South Island Barista of the Year:

Kyle Martin, Vic's Café and Bake

The Sky Vodka Mixologist of the Year:
Lola Li, CPIT School of Food and Hospitality

Montana South Island Sommeliers of the Year:
Rob Harrison, Simo's Moroccan Restaurant

MasterFoods South Island Café of the Year:
Le Bon Bolli - Jodi Marshall, Mark McManus, Kristal Morris

Canterbury Gourmet Pie of the Year:
Eugene Frost, Sugar Shack Bakehouse