Creative cooks impress judges by tasty dishes
Two teams from Somerville Intermediate School stood out and entered this year’s Maggi Pop-Up Kitchen Showdown as the fifth and last semi-finalists.
Eminem, a team of four girls, caught the show’s judges’ tastebuds with their colourful sweet chilli and garlic prawns on sticky rice, while team Coconut Sharks, made up by three boys, gathered the most public votes with their lettuce taco boats.
In the national TV competition, the first five semi-finalists are chosen by judges, and the sixth is picked by the public.
Three of the six semi-final teams are from East Auckland, with a Bucklands Beach Intermediate School team being the first selected. All teams were featured on TVNZ 2’s The Adam and Eve Show.
The girls - Year 8 students Ellen Potter, Miesha Tamati, Nadia Askari and Eesha Sanjay - were ‘‘really excited and proud’’ when they heard the news.
‘‘We’re trying to be unique to other groups. Our dish is innovative and different,’’ team leader Miesha says.
Their creation uses a Maggi chicken chow mein base, and is served with a fresh tropical salad.
‘‘It’s not just about winning. It’s about having fun, getting to know new people and learning new skills.’’
Guided by their Year 8 classroom teacher Vanessa Hancock, Coconut Sharks - Daniel Toms, Ali El-Bayati and Sean Dicker - ranked first with 1357 public votes among all entries.
The boys take a piece of iceberg lettuce as the taco shell to hold boiled potatoes and other vegetables, topped with crushed cashews, using Maggi apricot chicken as the recipe base.
‘‘It’s very healthy because it’s pretty much just a salad, but you hold your salad, which means using your nature’s cutlery instead of man-made cutlery,’’ Daniel says, with a smile.
Hancock says the team is ‘‘inspirational’’ and gained lots of support from their classmates, families and friends.
‘‘I’m absolutely thrilled. I really wanted to prove that classroom teachers could actually have a go with these types of STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and math] challenges.’’
Find the pupils’ recipes online at maggi.co.nz/kitchen-showdown. The national finals will on TVNZ 2’s The Adam and Eve Show at 3.35pm during the week of August 28 to September 1.
Boys’ team Coconut Sharks - Daniel, Ali and Sean - with their home room teacher Vanessa Hancock.
Team Eminem - Ellen, Eesha, Miesha and Nadia, and their food technology teacher Debbie Thorpe.