Fri 13 Mar 2015

WOMAD Cookoff at WITT

Pretty much everyone knows that WOMAD stands for World of Music and Dance, but one element that tends to get overlooked is food, which is very much part of the festival experience.

That’s something WITT is only too aware of and once again the WITT kitchens and restaurant were in demand for the WOMAD Taranaki Secondary Schools cook-off. Eight schools took part in the competition, which was this year restricted to year-10 students.

 WITT hospitality technician Robyn Trowern oversaw WITT”s involvement in the event, which was run along the lines of MasterChef she said. One of the stars of a previous series, Jax Hamilton, did her Simon Gault impression on the day and Robyn was full of praise for her.

“She was amazing,  she’s vibrant, full of energy and interacted amazingly well with the students,’’ Robyn said.

“A member of the WOMAD team from England came to observe and she was very impressed with what she saw. In the English version of WOMAD they don’t have anything like this with their schools, she told us.’’

As with the MasterChef format, each team had a certain amount of time to create their dish, which had to be of an international flavour. The judges loved the food.  Jax said the calibre of the food was amazing, and it was very hard to pick a winning team as they’d all done so well.

There was French, Indian, and Asian dishes and much more on offer, but the event was won by the New Plymouth Boys High School team, with its innovative  Chicken Saagwala dish. 

“It’s heavily  influenced by spinach. They put a pocket in a chicken breast, filled it with a spicy mix and spinach, then tied it together, cooked it, then served with a spicy spinach tomato-based sauce. “With it they served coconut rice and naan Bread. It was fantastic, absolutely beautiful,’’ Robyn said.

New Plymouth Girls’ High School was second and Spotswood College third.

The winning NPBHS team then got to recreate their dish on Sunday at WOMAD with Jax providing a commentary for the large crowd watching on.

Robyn said although it was a WOMAD event , having it at WITT was  good. “Everyone sees our facilities, including the kitchens and the restaurant, and with the students involvement, it’s a great experience for them.

“It’s all about being part of the community.’’