New Zealand’s top chefs from the Bay of Islands to Queenstown are sharpening their knives as they compete for the title of ‘Premier Master of Fine Cuisine’ in the third annual Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards.

The nationwide competition showcases the talent and craft of 60 of the country’s best chefs, who were invited to create an original dish for their menu using Silver Fern Farms premium red meat cuts of lamb, beef, venison or SILERE alpine origin merino.

Diners can take advantage of the competition by sampling the delicious creations at participating restaurants from 28 September to 1 November. At the same time a team of qualified and experienced food experts, overseen by returning judging coordinator Kerry Tyack, will assess the entries.

Silver Fern Farms General Manager Marketing Sharon Angus says new entry categories for best beef dish, best lamb dish and best venison dish have resulted in a wider variety of dishes for restaurant guests to dine on.

“In previous years over a third of entrant dishes featured Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Reserve Beef, but chefs have been excited about the new award categories and we have more entrants using lamb, and venison in particular.

“We are delighted by the quality of entrants from right across New Zealand and think foodies are about to enjoy some exceptional red meat dining experiences.”

The addition of two new judging categories to recognise the best regional and the best metropolitan entries provides an additional opportunity to acknowledge the chef’s top dishes.

Returning judging coordinator Kerry Tyack says that if the quality of the dishes in the first two years of the Awards is anything to go by, the 2015 entries won’t disappoint.

“These are the best cuts of beef, lamb and venison being cooked by the best chefs, and the dishes they serve are going to be outstanding. The quality of entrants is again very high and the judges are keen to sample what the chefs have created.”

Dishes will be judged on how well they ‘let the red meat be the hero’. Points will be awarded for presentation, preparation and cooking, taste and texture, and creativity.

Twelve finalists will be selected, with at least one from the following five regions:

  • Upper North Island
  • Central North Island
  • Lower North Island
  • Upper South Island
  • Lower South Island

Finalists will be announced on 20 November, with Kerry Tyack and co-judge Tony Adcock visiting all finalist restaurants prior to Christmas to re-judge the dishes. Winners will be announced at an event in Auckland in February 2016, where the five new category winners will be revealed and the supreme winner awarded the title of Premier Master of Fine Cuisine.

For more information please see our Premier Selection Awards section.