Multi award-winning Mark Sycamore brings New Zealand to the Orient
Jul 20, 2009
Multi award-winning Kiwi chef Mark Sycamore has become one of the select few to have featured as ‘guest chef’ at the prestigious Hong Kong Golf & Country Club.
His week-long residency at the club in June was part of a promotion for New Zealand Food Week, marked by an event held at the NZTE New Zealand Focus center.
For the 30 year-old Executive Chef of Blanket Bay, New Zealand’s leading luxury resort near Queenstown, the selection was nerve-wracking despite a recent string of culinary successes.
“It was quite an honour to be chosen. Some of the world’s best chefs have been invited to cook there in the past so there’s a bit of pressure to come up with a menu that has the ‘wow’ factor,” said Mark. “The week went really well and I got some great feedback about the food.”
Blanket Bay General Manager Philip Jenkins says everyone at Blanket Bay is delighted with Mark’s latest achievement.
“While we miss Mark in the kitchen, we are very keen to support his quest to be counted among the world’s great chefs. We encourage our entire kitchen team to further their careers wherever possible because it’s this passion about food that makes dining at Blanket Bay such a memorable experience for our guests.”
During his week as guest chef, Mark created several different menus including dishes featuring iconic Kiwi ingredients such as prize Milford Sound lobster, succulent beef and lamb, and moreish honeys and cheeses. Dishes included free range pork with Central Otago saffron, lamb smoked with Pinot Noir wine barrel shavings, and venison rolled in horopito with blackcurrants, with kiwifruit sherbet to finish.
Saturday lunch was a Kiwi barbecue outside on the lawn and on Saturday night Mark pulled out all stops for the winemaker’s dinner. He says it was a total New Zealand immersion experience, from his menu matched with beautiful Amisfield wines showcased by winemaker Claire Mullholland, to a New Zealand musician playing popular Kiwi music.
While overseas, Mark undertook food and wine demonstrations for 10 chefs in Hong Kong as part of a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise promotion.
“This was an innovative event designed to promote New Zealand ingredients. I wrote the recipes for the chefs and afterwards we all sat down over the food and wine and discussed New Zealand cooking, ingredients and the suppliers. It was held at the New Zealand Focus Centre and provided a great opportunity to network with an exclusive group including a two-star Michelin chef.”
Mark then represented NZTE in Taiwan at two events designed to highlight New Zealand products.
“The first was a media event that took the format of a cooking show for 40 Taiwan media representatives while the second was an afternoon event for 45 top chefs.”
Mark has recently shot to culinary fame by winning the New Zealand round of an international chef’s competition. This September he heads to Sydney to represent New Zealand in the Asia Pacific finals of the WACS (World Association Chefs Society) Global Chefs Challenge. The winner will go on to compete against the winners of the other six continents for the title of world’s best chef.
Other accolades include winning the Southern Lights Open Chef of the Region for the third time in three attempts, and coaching the Central Otago Polytechnic team to double gold at the Nestlé Toque d’Or, New Zealand’s most prestigious student culinary and restaurant service competition.
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