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Ben Bayly confirmed as judge in upcoming ‘grass roots’ culinary competition

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Highly respected New Zealand chef and restaurateur, Ben Bayly, credits culinary competitions for launching hospitality careers, saying he’s “a million percent” behind them.

Confirmed as judge at the upcoming 2022 National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge Ben highlights the importance of this grass roots event. “This cooking competition is finding our future staff and it’s inspiring teenagers to get across hospitality and I’m all for that. Competing gave me the belief, the drive that I could really make a go of it.”

Ben himself won a national culinary competition as a teenager, which took the boy from Te Awamutu College to training at the Johnson & Wales University of Culinary Arts in Providence, USA, then cooking in some of the best restaurants in the world in the United States, UK, Europe and Melbourne. It literally launched a career he has never looked back on.

“Colleges and high schools are the places where we think about what we are going to do with the rest of our lives. It’s a very important time, so for kids to get exposure to hospitality at high school is awesome.” As anyone already working in the industry knows, it’s important for the future of our industry that we are highlighting the myriad of benefits of working in hospitality. “It’s a great job, great career and it’s so rewarding. You meet the most amazing people. You can make a heap of money and have a lot of fun.” says Ben.

Entries for the 2022 National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge close on July 7. From there, eight regional finalists will be chosen and each will receive $1200 in prizes. They will then go on to compete in the NSSCC grand final at MIT in Auckland on September 7. In total there is more than $12,000 in prizes to be won.

If you have young, school age staff already working in your business let them know and encourage them to talk to their school about entering. For more information see

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