Wed 30 Sep 2020

Tun of talent in the kitchen

One of WITT’s aspiring chefs has been shortlisted for the national finals in an international cooking competition.

Tunlapat Wattanasomsiri entered the Lee Kum Kee New Zealand Developing Chefs Challenge in August with his take on a favourite Chinese dish, Honey Soy Chicken. It’s a dish he said he practised and developed over five weeks to reach competition level.

Selected as a finalist in the national competition, he will travel to Auckland in October to battle it out for a chance to represent New Zealand in the international culinary competition in Hong Kong next year. He’ll also be in the running for a $3000 cash prize.

Tunlapat (or Tun, as he's known by his friends) is currently enrolled in the Diploma in Professional Cookery Level 5 at WITT, coming to New Zealand from Thailand last year to train as a chef. He said he was encouraged to enter the competition by his tutors, grateful for an opportunity he believes he would not have had if he wasn’t at WITT.

“I am excited to get the opportunity to represent WITT and maybe even represent New Zealand,” he said.

While he was modest about the likelihood of advancing to the international competition, Tun said the experience was a great opportunity to develop his career.

“My goal is to become a chef in New Zealand when I complete my study.”

Tutor Craig Ludlow said he’s delighted to see such a deserving student get this kind of experience.

“Tun is one of the most driven and capable students I have ever taught,” he said. “His sheer ability and knowledge is clear and his desire to fulfil his potential is obvious to everyone at WITT.

“The dish he has chosen to enter is entirely his work, with myself and other tutors only providing guidance and support. I do hope he does well as he has worked extremely hard to get to this stage of the competition.”

Launched by Lee Kum Kee in 2014 and held every two years, the first New Zealand challenge in 2018 saw local winner Xiayi Luo from Elim Hospitality travel to Hong Kong to compete against representatives from over 20 countries.

Pictured: Tunlapat in the WITT kitchen with his competition dish.