While the Matariki Dish Challenge has a People’s Choice award the coveted prize is the Champion award. This is decided by a team of mystery judges who visit each eatery, narrowing it down to our finalists, which are then re judged by our head judges.
We’d love to introduce you to our panel of expert judges; the problem is we don’t even know who they are! The Nourish Magazine team employ Head Judge Kerry Tyack to take care of this for a number of reasons.
1 – Kerry is great at what he does. After years of judging and co-ordinating judging for the like of Monteiths Wild Food Challenge, Cuisine awards, Beef & Lamb Awards, Toastie Takeover…. Kerry understands what is involved.
2- The Nourish team along with RotoruaNZ and Flavours of Plenty Team have connections with most of the entrants. It is important to us that these connections in no way bias or appear to bias the outcome.
Kerry says “it is critical in any competition of this nature that the assessment process is transparent and fair. We go to great lengths to use judges who are competent, reliable, careful and discreet. We insist they declare any real or potential conflict of interest before being given any assignments. There is typically no contact between the judges, the sponsors or the entrants during the competition.”
One of Kerry's tasks is to allocate judges to restaurants. They do not get to choose. He briefs them and ensures they are fully conversant with the judging criteria. These same criteria are available to all entrants. This way they can see what standards the judges are using in their assessment.
The judges are tasked with visiting the entrant, tasting the required dishes and, afterward, completing a detailed report specifying their impressions. A very important aspect of this is that all entrants are assessed at the start as having scored maximum points. Every half mark deduction must be recorded and justified on the assessment sheet. These sheets are then moderated for consistency and fairness and from those results the finalists and ultimately the winner is determined.
In the event of a tie or a score too close to call, the head judge may decide to send in another judge for a third opinion to assist with making a final determination.