New Zealander Daniel Brooker has won the coveted Chef of the Year award at the Emirates International Salon Culinaire in Dubai.

More than 1,300 chefs from the Middle East and beyond take part in the Emirates International Salon Culinaire competition, an annual event held during Gulfood, the Middle East’s largest and most important trade exhibition for the food, beverage, food service and hospitality equipment industry.

The salon takes place over four days at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. and is organised by the Dubai World Trade Centre and Emirates Culinary Guild. Competitors are evaluated by a panel of 25 renowned experts, mandated by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) to judge culinary events across the globe, ensuring the highest competition standards.

Winning Kiwi Chef Daniel Brooker was born in Hastings in 1983, and moved to Auckland in the 90’s with his family.

After only 6 months into his Chef apprenticeship at Sky City  he was asked to enter the upcoming Culinary competition. Endless nights of training led to the winning of a Bronze medal at these competitions. From this point he was hooked on both cooking and competing.

2004 saw him being awared Junior Culinarian of the Year. He also won 2 gold medals when representing New Zealand in Perth at the Olympia Cilinary competitions, and was a representative for New Zealand at the Hans Bueschkens Junior Chefs Challenge in Auckalnd in 2006.

He has been a consistent winner of medals at Culinary competitions in Auckland when competing, the highlight being a Gold With Distriction.

After leaving Sky City and having a stint at Bracu at Bombay, Daniel decided that it was time to spread his wings. He travelled to the Sultante of Oman and worked as a Sous Chef at the Shangri-La 6 star hotel and resort. From here he travelled to Almaty in Kazakhstan and worked as Sous Chef in the 6 star Belvedere Room.

Deciding that he preferred warmer climes early 2010 he headed again for the Middle East, this time touching down at the Le Meridian Hotel in Abu Dhabi – working as their Executive Sous Chef, managing their 14 outlets.

In February 2011, at only only 27 years of age, he was appointed Acting Executive Chef of this hotel.

In addition to learning the ropes of the new role he also found time to prepare and compete at the Emirate International Salon Culinaire Competition, where he has just won this year’s prestigious Chef of the Year title.

Daniel attributes much of his success to the excellent mentoring given to him by Sky City personnel Warren Bias, Roberto Manuel and Peter Ray.

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