France vs. New Zealand – the knives are out

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Three days before the All Blacks take on France in the Rugby World Cup, the two nations will clash in a match of a different kind.

On Thursday 22 September 2011, in a free public event at The Cloud,  (Auckland City) France vs. New Zealand: The Culinary Challenge will see New Zealand challenge our French rivals in a sport in which they are global champions – cooking.

The Kiwi contingent will be lead by top chef Al Brown who will be assisted by former All Black captain Tana Umaga. The French challengers will be captained by Chef Philippe Clergue, Chef de Cuisine of Le Cordon Bleu Paris, one of the most respected culinary institutes in the world. Chef Clergue will be assisted by former French rugby international Olivier Magne.

Event organiser Cath Hopkin, Institute Director of Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand, expects the match to be as heated as the rugby action at Eden Park.

“France has long been one of the All Blacks arch rivals on the rugby field. While we may consistently outperform them, few Kiwis can forget our loss to the French in the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup in 2007.

“In the kitchen however, France fronts up with the heaviest muscle with French culinary techniques and traditions followed by chefs all over the world, including our own. But Kiwi chefs are fast catching up, masterminding a home-grown culinary tradition inspired by the abundance of fresh local produce, our indigenous and European heritage fused with our connection to Asia and the Pacific, and of course the rising reputation of our wines around the world.

“When the two teams meet we expect it will be a hard fought match and at this point I couldn’t make a call as both these culinary captains are currently in the best form of their careers,” she says.

The two teams will both cook three dishes: an entrée, main and dessert, which need to be prepped, cooked and served in 90 minutes. The dishes will be judged by an expert panel comprising of food writer Annabel Langbein and Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Institute Director Cath Hopkin.

The event will be MC’d by Julie Biuso, food writer, cookbook author and Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Ambassador, and will take place:

At:                          5.30pm – 7pm

On:                         Thursday, 22 September 2011

At:                          The Cloud, Queens Wharf, Auckland

Tickets:               Free

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