Rabobank and Garden to Table are asking year five and six students from around New Zealand to put their best stalk forward and enter the 2019 Rabobank Root to Tip cooking competition.

The competition challenges students to create a two-course plant-based meal from ‘root to tip’, using seasonal produce sourced locally from family, community or school gardens, while leaving little or no waste.

Head Judge and chef Al Brown believes the competition taps into the creativity and leadership of school-aged Kiwis on the issues of seasonality and reducing food waste, while creating delicious, nutritious food.

“The competition delivers some much-needed creative inspiration as many of us grapple with how we can change the things we do to reduce our environmental footprint, from having gardens at home to using all of what we have.”

“Food waste is a big issue in many New Zealand households, and I think we could all learn a lesson or two from last year’s finalists. They included ingredients most of us would consider ‘food scraps’ and served up some absolutely outstanding dishes.”

“These kids are developing lifelong skills in the kitchen. Learning where food comes from and what season it’s grown in will ultimately improve their health as they make better food choices – that’s what Garden to Table is all about.”

“Amongst the judges’ favourites were the onion crisps made from the vegetable’s skin and a delicious mousse made from the liquid left over from a can of chickpeas. It’s brilliant stuff, it’s all about keeping the targets of seasonality and minimal waste front of mind.”

Love Food Hate Waste project manager, Jenny Marshall, says reducing the amount of food we waste is one of the simplest, cheapest and most effective things we can do to make a real difference to our carbon footprint.

“When we throw food away into landfill, it has a double impact – not only is the food wasted, but it generates methane which contributes to climate change,” she says.

Rabobank NZ CEO Todd Charteris, says the competition reflects some of the key values Rabobank and its customers share.

“Many of our banking customers are in the business of growing or producing food, and they all share a keen interest in making sure their produce is put to best use. It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of this issue in such a positive way through the Rabobank Root to Tip competition.”

Executive Officer of Garden to Table Linda Taylor, says in its second year as a national competition, she’s excited to see even more school pupils from around New Zealand getting involved this year.

“In our first year we had more than 400 school children enter, which well exceeded our
expectations. We’re excited to see interest in the competition grow even further this year.”
Holly Patterson and Madyson Picard from Parua Bay School in Northland made up the team crowned the winners of Root to Tip for 2018. All prepared with next to no food wastage, the judges gave almost perfect scores to the the veggie patch burger with ribbon fries, made from the peelings of the vegetables used in the burger, and a spiced apple delight dessert using the entire apple.

The duo merged family-favourite recipes with some clever waste minimisation tricks, adapting Madyson’s grandmother’s fried bread recipe for their burger buns, and an apple dessert recipe from Holly’s great-grandmother.

Entries to Rabobank Root to Tip open on 17th June 2019 and will close on 1st July 2019. The competition is open to years five and six students from all New Zealand schools. Regional heats will take place around the country in the first week of August, and the national final will be held on Friday 23rd August in Wellington where the Root to Tip competition winners will be announced.

The winning pupils will each receive a $1,000 NoticeSaver account with Rabobank Online
Savings, plus a one-year membership to the Garden to Table programme for their school and a range of other kitchen goodies.


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