Our Finals judges
Al is an acclaimed New Zealand chef and restauranteur. He is the brains and chef behind Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar, Federal Delicatessen and Best Ugly Bagels in Auckland and Wellington. He is the author of four best-selling cook books and has presented four food-focused TV programmes.
In 2016, Al became a proud ambassador of Garden to Table. Not an academic student, Al is a firm believer that results can be achieved by taking children out of the traditional learning programme. He believes Garden to Table helps kids develop a greater understanding of food, nutrition and sustainability and make better decisions when it comes to eating a balanced diet.
Al's face lights up when he's cooking with the kids in our programme and he loves seeing the pride on their faces from what they've accomplished.
Catherine is a cook, food writer, business woman and mother. Her many years in the food world have been largely spent encouraging and enthusing people to cook and enjoy good food.
For many years she owned the Epicurean Workshop, a cookery school and cookware store in Auckland, during which time she found her writing voice, which led to her establishing Dish magazine and publishing two cookbooks.
Her current business, Epicure Trading, imports a range of ethically produced products from around the world that all relate to cooking or serving food.
Catherine is the co-founder and chair of the Garden to Table Trust, supporting a food education programme for children at school where they learn to grow, harvest, prepare and share good food.
Paul Cording is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Rabobank New Zealand.
He's a keen foodie with a love of cooking, with a strong desire to help reduce the significant amount of food wastage that occurs in New Zealand.
He's really looking forward to seeing what sort of delicious vegetable dishes the kids make in the competition so he can take home the recipes and encourage his two young children to eat them too!
Jacob Brown leads a busy life being a dad, chef and co-owner of the award winning Wellington restaurant The Larder. The Larder is a restaurant which seeks to nurture and care for its community and environment.
He is known for his dynamic, inspiring menus which showcase seasonal and foraged produce. Jacob is passionate about ‘nose to tail’, ethical and sustainable eating.
When Jacob isn’t rattling the pans - he loves spending time with his three boys - often taking them into the forrest to search for mushrooms or exploring the seashore to forage for things to eat. He is a firm believer in kids growing up with a respect for nature, knowing where food comes from and honouring animals that we eat.
Jacob was delighted to be invited to help critique the Root to Tip cooking competition. He hopes that lots of kids give it a go!