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