Chefs cel­e­brate com­pe­ti­tion suc­cess

Papakura Courier - - FRONT PAGE - EMILY FORD

Months of hard work have paid off for a pair of Mid­dle­more Hospi­tal cooks. Proud winners of bronze medals at the NZ Hos­pi­tal­ity Cham­pi­onships, Dwain Tokoara and Rangi A Pameti are rel­ish­ing the con­cept of spare time again.

The Com­pass Group cooks spent the past year ea­gerly pre­par­ing for the tough com­pe­ti­tion. It was Pameti’s first time at the an­nual con­test and Tokoara’s sec­ond, which he re­ceived a bronze medal for last year as well.

The pair have been prac­tis­ing since Jan­uary, com­ing into work on their days off to per­fect their dishes. While she was too busy to do it last year, Pameti de­cided to en­ter this year’s com­pe­ti­tion af­ter be­ing en­cour­aged by Tokoara.

‘‘I thought I’d give it a go. I never thought I would ac­tu­ally come some­where,’’ Pameti says.

Break­ing away from their usual recipes for hospi­tal pa­tients, Pameti en­tered the live pork sec­tion while Tokoara en­tered the se­nior life­style and live beef sec­tions. Com­pet­ing in a ‘‘the­atre-style’’ cook­ing com­pe­ti­tion, they had only an hour to pre­pare, cook, and plate their dishes.

‘‘It was re­ally in­tense and busy,’’ Tokoara says. ‘‘It’s a re­ally good chal­lenge but it’s not easy do­ing two dishes.’’

Pameti’s been work­ing in the food in­dus­try for years, join­ing the Mid­dle­more Hospi­tal team as a veg­etable cook in 2010. She’s now a spe­cials cook.

Tokoara’s orig­i­nally from Fiji, and learned how to cook by mak- ing meals gath­er­ings.

He started at the hospi­tal in 2009 as a dish­washer, mov­ing into veg­eta­bles, and he’s now the main cook.

The NZ Hos­pi­tal­ity Cham­pi­onships is an an­nual four day event with 74 cat­e­gories, and run in for big fam­ily as­so­ci­a­tion with NZChefs. About 800 chefs from around the coun­try com­peted and there were no gold medals awarded this year.

Tokoara and Pameti were blown away to achieve bronze.

‘‘I couldn’t be­lieve I got bronze . . . I wasn’t ex­pect­ing any­thing,’’ Tokoara says.

‘‘I do this be­cause of my kids, I want them to do bet­ter in life and not strug­gle out there,’’ Pameti says.

Next year’s plan­ning hasn’t be­gun yet, they’re both en­joy­ing more time with their fam­i­lies, but they both in­tend on go­ing back for gold next time.

EMILY FORD

Mid­dle­more Hospi­tal cooks Rangi A Pameti, left, and Dwain Tokoara walked away from the NZ Hos­pi­tal­ity Cham­pi­onships with bronze medals.

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