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The regional competitions for the New Zealand National Secondary School Culinary Challenge (NSSCC) are closed for 2020. You can find information about the 2021 competitions 'HERE'. 

We look forward to seeing the finalists from each region at the National Final in September 2021.
A huge thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors, without whom the NSSCC wouldn't be possible. 

2020 THE FINAL: what happens now?
The NSSCC final will take place at NZMA, Carbine Road, Mt Wellington, Auckland, on Tuesday 1st September 2020. The awards dinner will commence at 6pm. 
A team of two competitors from each winning region will go head-to-head in a kitchen cook-off. Finalists will prepare, cook and present four individually-plated portions of an entrée, and four individually-plated portions of a main course within 90 minutes. 
Each entree must contain fresh NZ-grown broccoli as the principal component of the dish. 
Each main course must include Waitoa chicken breast (supreme cut) as the principal component of the dish, and at least three fresh NZ-grown vegetables, one of which must be a starchy vegetable, kumara, parsnip or yams.  
Students will be scored across a number of areas including food preparation, hygiene, presentation, taste and use of New Zealand produced vegetables and chicken. 
Each regional winning school receives a $500 voucher from NSSCC sponsor Bidfood, to assist teams with training and travel assistance to attend the national final. The winning regional teams and teachers will also be provided with a branded NSSCC chef jacket to wear at the final and prize giving, a New Zealand Culinary Journey Chefs Jacket, a branded polo shirt and a finalist's hat to wear at the NZ Culinary Journey.

Each national winning student receives: 
A prize pack, courtesy of our fantastic sponsors, valued at over $500 each.
All finalists will attend an Awards dinner, stay over night
A New Zealand Culinary Journey trip visiting local growers, industry businesses and a Masterclass.
Each winning school receives: 
$1,000.00 voucher from Bidfood
Turbofan E32D4 Oven and SK32 stand, Digital Electric Convection Oven from Moffat New Zealand, valued at $8,000.   

National Final 2020: Rules & Regulations

Tutors and students should ensure they have read and understood all the rules below. Any team found breaking one of the rules may be eliminated from the competition.

  • Competitors must supply all food items and necessary equipment to prepare, cook and serve during the Final.
  • Competitors are advised not to bring additional display materials, as these will not be marked. 
  • Once a live competition has started, no communication is permitted between competitors or between supporters outside the arena. Any communication will result in immediate disqualification.
  • All food, liquid and equipment needs to be on site before the competition starts. Once the competition has started no extra equipment, food, liquids or other associated items may be taken into the arena for the competitors, under any circumstances.
  • All competitors should aim to complete all dishes within the allotted time. If dishes are not completed when the allotted time is up, competitors will be allowed to continue finishing the event however the following penalties apply: 
  1. First minute late = 5 marks removed
  2. For every minute after, 1 mark removed (to a total of 5 minutes) 

If the competitor has not presented all dishes 5 minutes after allocated finish time, the competitor will receive a DNC (did not complete) or DNP (did not present).

With live competitions, all plates must be off the bench and in transit, within the competition allocated time.

  • If a competitor serves RAW or uneatable food, they will receive a DNC (did not complete). Temperature probes may be used by the judges to test suitable temperature of served food items. 
  • All enquiries during the competition should be directed to the Chief Judge of the competition (Mark Wylie). No  other conferring is permitted in any form at any time during the competition.
  • Uniform: The supplied competition jacket and skull cap, plus neck tie (supplied by competitor) must be worn during the competition. Marks will be deducted for incorrect uniform. 
  • Competitors and tutors have a duty to ensure their kitchen area is safe at all times. If an area is deemed by the Head Judge or safety officer to be unsafe, the competitor will be asked to stop. The Head Judge or the safety officer has the right to have equipment removed at any time of the competition if deemed unsafe or unsatisfactory.
  • Competitors are required to clean their stoves & equipment at the end of the competition. Marks will be deducted if this is not carried out. 
  • No trolleys will be allowed in the kitchen other than for transport into the kitchen. All trolleys must be removed to a safe place prior to start of the competition.
  • Extreme care must be taken with all deep fryer style cookers 


  • All platters, props, plates, equipment and product to be provided by competitors unless otherwise stated in the schedule. These must be clearly marked with the competitors' name and school. 
  • Competitors are responsible for their own equipment at all times. The organisers are not responsible for any loss or damage to exhibits, dishes, equipment or personal effects. 
  • Time Allocation 

The time allocation for the competition classes will
be strictly enforced. Provided there are no unforeseen difficulties ¼ , ½ and ¾ times will be given. A 10 minute to go call and from 5 minutes remaining, every minute will be called. 

  • Liquid nitrogen

May only be used in a class in accordance with the material safety data sheet #0048 as issued by BOC Limited. Any use of this material outside these guidelines will disqualify the competitor immediately. 

  • Team Age 

Competitors must be 15 years + old at the time of the National Final in September 2019. 

  • Recipe template and Description Cards

Competitors must provide two (2) recipes using the template from the NSSCC website. This includes weights, ingredients and methods. 

Two description cards must be supplied (as the dish to be described on a menu). This should be computer generated and written in English. 

An electronic copy of the final menu and description will be sent to info@nsscc.nz on or before Wednesday 26th August 2020.

The two (2) Recipe templates and two (2) Description cards are taken into the kitchen for display with the competitors work on the Judges and display tables 

The recipes and dish description card, when provided, become the property of NSSCC. They may be reproduced for promotional purposes by the sponsors. 

  • Judging 

The decision of the judges in all matters relating to the competitions is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

For more details on the competitions, competitors may refer to the latest version of “Guidelines for Culinary Arts & Restaurant Service Competitions.” This is available from NZ Chefs. 

  • Awards 

The World Association of Chefs Societies [WACS] marking system is used in this competition. 

All competitors start with 100 (‘Gold with Distinction'), with marks deducted for non-compliance with the Guidelines. Competitors can receive Gold, Silver & Bronze medals with certificates in each class. 

Medals and certificates will be awarded to competitors who achieve the following marks in each class. 

Gold Medal with Distinction.
Gold Medal.
Silver Medal.
Bronze Medal

A certificate of merit can be awarded at the discretion of the Chief Judge. 

  • Security 

The Management team is not responsible for any loss or damage to exhibits, dishes, equipment or personal effects. Competitors are advised to suitably insure all personal equipment brought into the competition. It is the competitor's responsibility to cover this for personal use. 

No responsibility will be taken for equipment that has been left behind at the end of the competitions and any equipment left on site at the close of the competitions will be disposed of without further warning. 

The organisers accept no responsibility for loss or damages to personal property or injuries whilst competing. 

  • Sponsors & Ingredients

For use of sponsors products, please see the following recommendations:

NSSCC Sponsors for 2020

Vegetables.co.nz do not include fungi in their growing group. Marks are deducted if mushrooms are

Other Details

  • Travel

All travel will be at the teams cost. We have allocated a reimbursement system for each region based on distance. If you are flying, please book this asap.

If you are driving your own or school vehicle, please keep receipts relating to transport to and from the competition and ask your school to invoice the ‘Culinary Arts Development Trust’ up to the allocated amount. If you are unsure, please contact info@nsscc.nz.

  • Accommodation 

‘Proximity Apartments’

– 17 Amersham Way, Manukau City. Accommodation is paid for by CADT/NSSCC. 

Bookings: Monday 31st August – Wednesday 2nd September 2020

  • Wellington
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Taranaki
  • Canterbury
  • Southland

Tuesday 1st September 2019 – Wednesday 2nd September 2020 

  • Waikato
  • Auckland / Northland

Note: if you require additional accommodation this will be at your own cost. 

  • Parking

- If you are travelling in your own transport and require parking at the accommodation, please mark this on the return form. 

Check out - You will need to check out and leave the accommodation by 0630 hrs Wednesday morning.

Teams travelling by air, we will not be returning to the accommodation and the bus will drop you off at the airport prior to your booked departure time.

Team travelling by road, we will be returning to the accommodation for you to collect your vehicles. All luggage should be packed in vehicles at checkout.

  • Meals 

Monday – Own team arrangements 

Tuesday – Own breakfast. NSSCC will provide lunch and dinner 

Wednesday – NZCJ will provide Breakfast and Lunch 

Note: all additional meal requirements are to be at your own cost. Please make sure you have a water bottle for Tuesday and Wednesday to ensure you keep hydrated. 

  • Uniforms 

Each team member will be supplied with 1 x Chefs Jacket for the NSSCC Final, 1 x apron for the NSSCC final, 1 x Polo Shirt for the NZ Culinary Journey. 

Please note on the schedule when these are meant to be worn. 

Each team will need to provide the following: 

  • Additional Chefs Jacket as back up (it always plans to be safe!) 
  • Appropriate chef’s pants, shoes, neckerchief and skull cap (no logos) 
  • Spare apron (it is recommended an extra bib apron for clean-up)


If you have any questions, please do e-mail info@nsscc.nz


Date: Tuesday 1st September 2020
Venue: NZMA, Carbine Road, Mt Wellington


Transport departing from Proximity Apartment (For teams staying Monday Night)
Teams arrive at NZMA 

Lunch Box will be provided for teams and teachers.
Team briefing
Equipment pack in
Final judges brief
Competition Starts (90 mins)
Competition Finishes (Clean equipment etc

Your own time until prize giving)
2.30 pm 

5 pm
Clean up and own time (back to accommodation)

Wash whites and get ready
for awards dinner
- All food and equipment are to be supplied by the school teams
Prize giving location
NZMA, Carbine Road, Mt Wellington

5.00pm Van’s leave for NZMA 
Chefs Whites 

Arrive at NZMA

Awards dinner starts
Awards dinner finished

transport back to accommodation.
Additional Prize Giving Tickets

We will cover 2 x students and the team manager. We do have a few spare tickets available for the prize giving e.g. Principal of school, available to purchase at a cost of $60.00 per person (max 2 per
team). If your team wishes to have additional people attend, please use the return form to confirm

NSSCC Event and Prize-giving
Venue: NMZA

Wednesday 2nd September 2020 

5.30 am
Wake up and pack vehicles (whom are driving home)
6.30 am
Check out and get seated on the bus
7.00 am Start of the 2020 New Zealand Culinary Journey
3.00 pm End of the 2020 New Zealand Culinary Journey.
Bus will transport all teams flying to airport.

NOTE: No additional tickets are available for any part of the NZ Culinary Journey


- Auckland / Northland

- Waikato/Bay of Plenty 

- Poverty Bay/Hawkes Bay

- Taranaki/Wanganui/Manawatu 

- Wellington

- Canterbury/North (Nelson/Marlborough/Westcoast) 

- Otago/Southland


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