Aged care facility chefs face off in cooking competition

A dozen aged-care facility chefs have competed at a live cook-off competition for the title of Senior Lifestyle Cuisine winner.

A team of top industry judges assessed the chefs on their preparation, cleanliness, presentation, taste and texture.

Chopping, steaming and stirring, the chefs had 75 minutes to complete four dishes of fish and four dishes of beef cheeks, designed for the elderly.

Head judge Chetan Pangam says the dishes were far from the mashed potatoes and mushy peas you might expect.

"It was great to see people looking at the final presentation and how you actually eat, because at the time people put a lot of stuff on a plate, but don't think of the practicality of how you're going," he said.

"If that's what people think it is, then they have something else coming - because, based on this food, some of it could easily be served in any fine dining restaurant."

The aged care facility residents agree.

"We get good food where we live, and we've come to support our chef - so we're very lucky."

Winning chef Stephen Iraia came from Napier to take part, and says the final moments were nerve-racking but worth it.

"I've been really, really lucky; I've worked with some top class chefs in my career and I've pulled from their knowledge," he said.

The idea is that when it comes to eating and life, you save the best until the end.