Chatham Islands Local Wild Food Challenge 2018

I’ve only been back in New Zealand a couple of days and am already missing the incredible hospitality and raw beauty of the Chatham Islands and her people.
Our 1st Local Wild food Challenge held out on this remote archipelago east of NZ was just amazing.
Known for its supersized wild ingredients, Chathams didn’t disappoint.. the crowd sampled crayfish, kina, wild lamb, seaweeds, blue nose, blue cod, wild pig and tons more!
Congratulations to all our winners & a huge thank you to the local Chatham Islanders for their unrivaled hospitality.
This inaugural event was only made possible by the tireless work of Kaai Silbery & her team at Toni Croon’s Hotel Chatham.
A huge thanks also to all our sponsors and Admiral Gardens for hosting this event.

Special thanks to Chef Joe McCleod, Jax Hamilton & Chef Tim Aspinal (both of whom also judged) for their inspirational live demos.
To our other judges Chatham Islands Mayor Alfred Preece and Sally Lanauze also to Xavier Quilambaqui at Big World Zoo productions for all his work documenting the event.

It was so much fun teaming up with Hughie Blue & his wife Amanda Turner from the NZ Chef Association & Kiwi Kids Can Cook, for the Junior section of our Challenge.
The winner of the Kiwi Kids Can Cook & LWFC will represent the Chatham Islands in the national cook off held in Auckland next year.

If anyone has been thinking about a trip to these extraordinary Islands, Air Chathams run regular service from NZ, do it.. you’ll love it!

The Winners

Grand Prize – Mark Smith & Zach Meads
Spit roasted Chatham Island Lamb, local scallops, foraged herb salad with Admiral Gardens Zucchini blossom


1st Runner up – Donna Gregory-Hunt

Duo of Crayfish & home smoked Blue Cod dip served on homemade baguette crostini.
Wild weed salad of puha, chickweed, sorrel, dandelion, nasturtium & homegrown sprouts.
Served with Elderflower cordial


Best Effort – Graeme Hoare

Wild Pork & Paua Sausage
Tuatua (clam) & basil fritter
Tuatua & Crayfish fritter
Keto Bread


Wildest Ingredient – Jolene Dangen

Wild Pitt Island Lamb Back Strap with Kawakawa, wild mint, kale, new potatoes & garden vegetables.


Best from the Water – Toni Croon

Blue Nose Sashimi


Caroline Johnstone Award (Most Intriguing) – Linda Caldana

‘Chatham Blue’
Blue Nose on wild potato wasabi mash, homegrown spinach & local olive oil served on a homemade mat of native flax & forget-me-not leaf


Best from Forest & Land – Toni Gregory Hunt 

Fried Kina with homegrown herbs, onions & lemons. Eggs from her hens, cream from a local cow, gathered seaweed. Served on a locally grown Macrocarpa board.                                                              


Best Story – Tracey Page

E-Box Sliders

Fresh Blue Cod, homemade buns, wild watercress served on a hand made board made from local timber


Junior Challenge

Grand Prize – Valentine Croon

Pan fried Chatham Island Blue Cod caught by me, served with foraged watercress, homegrown greens, homemade pesto & garlic herb butter

Runner up – Pippa Camaron

Handpicked Wild Salad with Pear, homemade Haloumi from our cow’s milk with Island honey & Kawakawa dressing

Best Dessert – Zoey Camaron

Chatham Islands Apple Crumble with Durham farm blackberries & apples, our honey, our cow Heidi’s cream & old Nanny’s pink rose petals

Best Presentation – Olivia Croon

Mini cakes with homegrown golden strawberries, peppermint infused Kawakawa tea & Chatham Island honey

Best story & creative use of honey – Berry Ashford

Kawakawa & honey treats with mint, spearmint & Brassica flowers from our school garden.