History has been made in an annual culinary competition that showcases regional food producers.
Plate of Origin is a national competition hosted in Manawatu each year, and brings together some of New Zealand's finest restaurants, chefs and regional food products.
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Local restaurants from Manawatu are allocated regions from around the country, where they must find a partnering chef and restaurant to collaborate and create one dish, highlighting a hero ingredient from each region.
For the first time in Plate of Origin's history, two restaurant partnerships have been named joint winners for 2019.
The winning partnerships are Manawatu local, The Fat Farmer and partner Culprit, of Auckland, alongside Nero Restaurant and partner Hopgoods of Nelson.
The chefs are Janet Gray of The Fat Farmer and Kyle Street from Culprit; Scott Kennedy of Nero and Aaron Ballantyne of Hopgoods. The winning partnerships have just been revealed in the May edition of Cuisine Magazine.
The Fat Farmer and Culprit featured Angus Pure Beef from a selection of Manawatu Angus studs, paired with Curious Croppers green tomatoes from Clevedon, Auckland.
In contrast, Nero and Hopgoods chose Ora King Salmon as their Marlborough and Nelson-Tasman regional highlight, paired with a bespoke goat's curd by Manawatu's Cartwheel Creamery, designed especially for the competition dish.
Co-judge, Cuisine Magazine co-owner and editor Kelli Brett, said they were two amazing, but two very different dishes.
"The four restaurants had very different styles and it wasn't possible to compare apples with apples and we could not agree on a winning dish so we chose two," she said,
Chefs are encouraged to design a dish that remains true to themselves and their clientele, while showcasing new techniques and cooking styles that they have learned from each other.
Brett said both dishes were an exemplary reflection of their audience.
'The winners really thought through the criteria and had their customers at the centre of their design process. Both partnerships nailed the techniques and flavours."
"The Fat Farmer's dish was a great mix of Culprit's edgy style, with Janet's take on regional flavours and bringing the farm into the kitchen. It was a clever and great sharing plate, which is at the centre of The Fat Farmer's offering."
"Nero and Hopgoods' dish was an elegant showcase of salmon and an incredible display of techniques and flavours."
Plate of Origin is competition is run by Manawatu's Central Economic Development Agency.
Conventions and Events Executive Phil Hildred said anecdotal evidence from chefs suggests 2019 has been the most successful year yet.
"The winning dishes shine a national spotlight on the artisan food products that are included and the restaurants, helping to raise their profile too," he said.
"It is an all-encompassing and unique competition for our region and New Zealand and we're proud to deliver this on behalf of Manawatu's hospitality businesses."