The New Zealand Chef, a textbook co-authored by AUT senior lecturer Lindsay Neill, has been recognised with the chief judge’s special award at the 2013 Culinary Quill Awards.
The Culinary Quill awards, conferred each year by the New Zealand Guild of Food Writers, are regarded as New Zealand’s top food writing prizes.
Chief Judge Margot Buick said: “The New Zealand Chef achieves its aim of providing a comprehensive reference book that is highly accessible and precise. It provides very good background information as well as an introduction to professional cooking techniques with an emphasis on New Zealand produce and style. This is not only an excellent textbook for students and practising chefs but also a resource for all involved in food production and development including home cooks.”
The winning book is the third edition of The New Zealand Chef, which was first published in 2002. It is used widely in New Zealand for students who are studying towards qualifications based on the NZQA Cookery Unit Standards and London City & Guilds qualifications.
As a former chef and a chef lecturer Neill says he focused on making the knowledge in the book accessible to students, using plain English wherever possible. Any gaps in his own knowledge were quickly filled as he worked together with his co-author Lesley Christensen-Yule and the culinary community to get it right.
“The writing process was collaborative; I gained a sense of giving back to an industry that has been really good to me. Winning this award is a great feeling. It is a significant recognition from our hospitality peers of the work that Lesley and I have put into the book.”
Neill says the New Zealand-centric learning offered by the book makes a big difference to the experience of culinary students: “When I trained as a chef the book we used was for the Northern Hemisphere and it had all the seasons the wrong way around for New Zealand. The least a book should do is reflect the reality of the people who use it.”
The New Zealand Chef has also been nominated for the 2013 Copyright Licensing New Zealand Educational Publishing Awards, in the ‘Best Book or Series in Higher Education’ category. Winners will be announced on 14 November 2013.