Steam­ing to Food Awards

Rotorua Review - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - BENN BATHGATE

Kiwi Kai’s steam pud­dings could just be the cream of the crop, at least ac­cord­ing to the New Zealand Food Awards.

The Ro­torua-based company’s steam pud­dings are among 23 fi­nal­ists in the Ar­ti­san Food Pro­duc­ers cat­e­gory at the pres­ti­gious awards, with the win­ners to be an­nounced on Oc­to­ber 12.

Kiwi Kai founder Chris Poipoi said he was stunned by the nom­i­na­tion.

‘‘When I heard our name I was scream­ing at the com­puter,’’ he said.

‘‘Ear­lier in the week I had re­ceived news that we had missed out on be­ing short­listed for the Ro­torua Busi­ness Awards so I didn’t have much con­fi­dence with the NZ Food Awards which is much big­ger.’’

Poipoi said he wouldn’t have imag­ined they would be nom­i­nated ‘‘in my wildest dreams’’.

‘‘When I be­gan Kiwi Kai I was just con­tin­u­ing my mother’s legacy with my own take on things. We ad­justed recipes and pro­cesses as we grew. Now peo­ple are say- ing the Kiwi Kai pud­dings are the best in New Zealand,’’ he said.

‘‘Some­where I hit a mix which has cre­ated what we now have. And my pro­cesses of con­sis­tent de­liv­ery has some­how been a mas­ter­stroke. I can point to many parts but I can’t ac­tu­ally iden­tify where our X-Fac­tor hap­pened. And here we are be­ing con­sid­ered as the best Food Prod­ucts in the coun­try for 2017. It’s quite un­be­liev­able.’’

Kiwi Kai isn’t alone fly­ing the flag for Ro­torua at the Awards ei­ther, with Croucher Brew­ing also up for an award in the Ar­ti­san Craft Beer cat­e­gory for their low-al­co­hol Lowrider.

‘‘It's quite un­be­liev­able ’’

AMY CHILDS/STUFF

Kiwi Kai founder Chris Poipoi is happy his steam pud­dings have been named among the fi­nal­ists at the 2017 NZ Food Awards (File).

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