Delicious Dunedin Cookbook showcases scarfie delicacies

Noodles, pizza and budget mince tend to be the staple diet for many students. But the creators of a new Dunedin cookbook were keen to find the undercover chefs brightening up mealtimes in a few scarfie flats.

Gihwan Song enjoys cooking up a storm in the kitchen. It's a skill he's been forced to acquire since moving south to study at University of Otago.

"I hadn't cooked a single noodle or even eggs. I legit didn't know how to crack an egg before I came down," he says.

Now the fourth-year pharmacy student is a bona fide chef, taking inspiration from different cultures to create fusion dishes.

It's a long way from your typical scarfie meals, which often consist of two-minute noodles or mince on toast.

"I would say that's definitely true for most of us, including myself. I wouldn't cook this every day, especially during exams," he says.

Mr Song says he's learned most of his techniques from TV cooking shows or chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver.

He was able to put those new skills to the test for a special "My Flat Kitchen Rules" competition, as part of an upcoming Dunedin cookbook.

Its creators were keen to include Otago students in the mix, bringing in celebrity judges to taste test some unique scarfie dishes.

"Something called a Drunken Steak Sandwich, which you would expect from the students," says Kelly Lindsay, the photographer of Delicious Dunedin Cookbook.

"There were a couple of other entries that were way above everything else that we'd seen - certainly on a level with some restaurants that we've got in the book as well." 

The cookbook will feature a few student recipes, alongside others from top Dunedin cafes and food producers.

Mr Song has no plans to pursue a career as a chef, but has scored a few brownie points with his girlfriend for his talents.

"The ingredients aren't that fancy, but somehow it seems like he's always able to come up with something that becomes fancy," says taste tester Natasha Manuson.