The copious cups of tea have paid off for the AUT team in the Dilmah High Tea Challenge this week.
Third year Bachelor of International Hospitality Management student Nicole Gomes and Senior Lecturer in Culinary Arts John Kelleher were awarded a gold medal and the runner-up spot in the competition.
They impressed the judges so much that along with the winning team the pair will also be given the top prize of a trip to Sri Lanka in 2013.
AUT was the only education provider entered in the challenge and the pair competed against strong teams from the Hilton Taupo, the Langham Auckland and Waitakere Estate.
For the competition Nicole and John were required to create a contemporary high tea from scratch, and present it with flair.
With only two weeks preparation the team prepared a hot tea, a hot tea mocktail, a chilled tea mocktail and a chilled tea mocktail to serve with savoury and sweet afternoon tea food items and a sweet and a savoury food item that used tea to flavour.
Both Nicole and John said they were tea drinkers prior to starting their planning, but they both have a new appreciation for the taste now.
Dilhan Fernando, Dilmah director of marketing, says the challenge encouraged chefs, sommeliers and food and beverage leaders to think about tea and its role in gastronomy.
“While wine and food matches are widely accepted, tea gastronomy also demonstrates the sophistication of tea when matched or combined with food,” he says.
Head of the AUT Department of Culinary Arts John Kelly says the success is fantastic for Nicole and John and also the wider AUT team involved.
“My thanks to Nicole, John, and Gina Harrap who have spent an incredible amount of time over the last few weeks perfecting their menu and tea matching skills.”
When in Sri Lanka next year the pair will visit the Ceylon Tea Trails and learn about tea production, tea tasting and cuisine and will present their high tea set-up to Dilmah VIPs and guests and at the Hilton Colombo Dilmah T-Bar.
The winning team was from Kermadec.
The AUT Menu