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December 9, 2016

Passion for food reaps benefits

Massey resident Dwain Tokoara is always looking for fresh ways to create new menus for clients.

A love of food, great team work and passion to succeed all contributed towards chef Dwain Tokoara’s success in the NZ Chefs’ Association National Salon competition.

Based at Middlemore Hospital, Dwain was supported by his team and Food Service Manager Karen Reynecke to participate in the live MasterChef-style event. Competing against nine others in the Senior Lifestyle category, Compass Group New Zealand (Compass) chef Dwain pulled out all the stops to take home the Bronze medal.

The self-taught Fijian chef was surprised and delighted by his achievement as competition was fierce.

Dwain's delicious dish.

Dwain’s delicious dish.

“I was very happy to take home the Bronze and will definitely compete again next year. I know it’s possible as I have such a great support crew, who are my family and my work. I’m really glad that Karen and the team at work believed in me as it has opened up so many opportunities,” says Dwain.

Karen adds that Dwain always strives to achieve new goals, having started working for Compass at Middlemore Hospital as a kitchen hand.

“He then developed a real interest in cooking and hasn’t looked back. Dwain said he never thought he would do anything like this competition in his life, but he did it! We had great support and encouragement from Compass as well Counties Manukau Health,” she says.

The competition involved aged care chefs from across New Zealand to showcase their skills at a live 75-minute event. Ingredients were selected by the organisers and chefs were challenged to create a unique menu using these ingredients.

Dwain created a delicious: fresh herb encrusted baked Hoki on a bed of fennel with toasted almonds served with coconut pasta sauce; and, a tangy lemon and mango mousse with a coconut and vanilla bean panacotta topped with fresh banana, toasted coconut and strawberry coulis.

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