New Zealand - Marc Soper
Conseiller Culinaire
Winner of the '2016 New Zealand Chef of the Nation' competition

Conseiller Culinaire Marc Soper, Executive Chef at the Wharekauhau Country Estate, Palliser Bay, Wairarapa, has won the title of “New Zealand Chef of the Nation 2016”.

The country’s National Hospitality Competitions took place in Auckland during four days in August. The best of the best battled it out competing to be placed in top spots nationally. Points were awarded at each stage which, when accumulated, eventually revealed the champion. Marc was already an experienced competitor having been through the process in 2005 when he won that year’s “Chef of the Nation” title.

After winning the Wellington/ Wairarapa regional heat, next it was Auckland for the “nationals” and three different competitions over two days.

First challenge was to prepare and present three different styles of canapes (20 portions of each) in 75 minutes. Marc scored well receiving a gold medal yet was only in second place overall.

Next was to prepare two individually-plated entrées. Marc revealed “Working into the early hours followed by a couple of hours sleep I was back in the kitchen to put the finishing touches to my quail and black pudding with black truffle and Manuka honey”. Another gold was the result. Despite not winning this second stage outright, Marc was now in first place due to his accumulated points under the WACS scoring system.

The third element was to create three courses in three hours. Each dish had to use sponsored products. In the run-up to the event Marc had been practicing which paid off on the day.

The overall winner was announced on the following day. Gold again in the third part confirmed Marc’s victory and he was declared “New Zealand Chef of the Nation 2016”.

Winning brought great media attention for the Wharekauhau Country Estate especially when coupled with it having recently become a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux consortium.

From a Chaîne perspective, Marc commented “as New Zealand’s Conseiller Culinaire it is important to be a role model for young chefs especially having been through the competition process. I encourage them all to go for gold!”