Kina Brulee to Tuatua Fritters, Sea Grapes to Pickled Pikopiko, Waikato’s Matariki Dish Challenge is back for 2017

Waikato Food Inc’s unique challenge which dares chefs to create a dish inspired by Matariki and local Waikato ingredients is back for its third year. “Each year more and more local eateries enter the fray” says event organiser Vicki Ravlich-Horan “so much so this year we have had to split the challenge into two categories; Restaurant and Café.”

Running from the 10th June to 14th of July, eateries around the Waikato will put their best foot (or waewae) forward with judges looking for a link to Matariki, a celebration of local ingredients as well as great cohesive and knowledgeable service.  “One of WFI’s goals” says Vicki “is to help local food businesses grow and so the challenge is designed to test the whole team, not just the kitchen.”

Another goal of the organisation is to celebrate the talent in the Waikato and Vicki says “the challenge gives locals a great excuse to get out and try something new, discover just how much talent the Waikato has; chefs as well as producers.”

With over 25 entries there is something for everyone from Steamed Tuatua, Kawakawa and Fennel Broth with Pickled Pikopiko to Paua and Kina Brulee, Sea-grape and Hotopito Salad, Pickled Bush Mushrooms, Crayfish Oil or perhaps Ratatouille Vegetables with Chillie Koura, Fennel with Mussels and Paua wrapped in Seaweed.

Click below to see the list of eateries and their dishes









Matariki is a small but distinctive star cluster whose appearance in the north eastern pre-dawn sky in late May, early June marks the start of a new phase of life.

In ancient times, Matariki arrived at the end of the harvest and was therefore a time of plenty and for celebration.

Matariki can be translated in two ways – Mata Riki (tiny eyes) and Mata Ariki (eyes of God). Either way the eyes are thought to watch over the land and it’s people.