Chef takes stock af­ter winning award

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

A Mt Eden chef has turned the hum­ble po­tato into an award-winning dish.

Michael Van de Elzen, owner and chef of Molten restau­rant, won the na­tional Great Po­tato Chal­lenge held at the Manukau In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy.

His po­tato boulan­gere dish took out the top prize at the event, held to mark the United Na­tions In­ter­na­tional Year of the Po­tato.

“It’s a very tra­di­tional dish that has been on our menu for about the last eight weeks. It’s hugely pop­u­lar.”

He says the boulan­gere is sim­i­lar to a po­tato gratin, but uses chicken stock in­stead of cream.

“It’s an easy dish to look at, but there can be a lit­tle bit of time in­volved.”

Once cooked, it is left overnight be­fore be­ing sliced into bite sized pieces and roasted again.

He says winning the com­pe­ti­tion was a great hon­our.

With many va­ri­eties of po­tato avail­able, he en­cour­ages peo­ple to try dif­fer­ent kinds.

He of­ten cooks with agria pota­toes which are ver­sa­tile, but the jer­sey benny va­ri­ety is a per­sonal favourite.

The com­pe­ti­tion was judged by chefs Andy Gibbs and Ross Han­nah, Dish mag­a­zine ed­i­to­rial di­rec­tor Cather­ine Bell, and Jo­hann Wohlmuther, head of ca­ter­ing and hos­pi­tal­ity at the in­sti­tute.

Mr Gibbs says the winning en­try used the flavour of the po­tato to em­pha­sise the dish.

Other fi­nal­ists were Michael Sul­li­van and Fraser McCon­nel of Christchurch and Eu­gene Sokolovski from The Abbey in Green­lane.

Mr Van de Elzen will at­tend the In­ter­na­tional Year of the Po­tato gala din­ner at SkyC­ity on Fri­day where his dish will fea­ture on the menu.

Prize pota­toes: Chef Michael Van de Elzen with his po­tato dish judged best in the coun­try.

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