The Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge 2013 produced a tie in the professional category with Gold Medallists Shangri-La Hotel Sydney (Althea Eley & Felicity Goodchild) and Stamford Plaza Brisbane (Revecca Fujiwara & Natalie Noriega) being selected joint winners. The two winners presented contrasting themes, expressing the potential in a genuinely tea inspired, contemporary high tea to adapt to very different cultural, culinary, thematic and hospitality styles.
A contemporary, and understated High Tea from the Shangri-La Sydney and a modern Japanese High Tea from Stamford Plaza Brisbane were judged equally deserving winners by Presiding and Culinary Judge Bernd Uber, Mixology Judge Robert Schinkel and Tea Judge Dilhan C. Fernando. Both teams will travel to Sri Lanka to learn all about tea at the Dilmah School of Tea and to enjoy a vacation in the spectacular tea country of Sri Lanka. They will also be amongst the finalists of the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge from around the world, to participate in the Global Challenge in 2014.
Runner up Pullman Cairns International presented an entirely different perspective, emphasizing sustainable, local ingredients from the Atherton Tablelands. The simple and fresh approach to the occasion, with very effective tea pairing and the use of tea as an ingredient, secured Melanie Day and Ashley Hindmarsh third place nationally, in the contest.
The quality of entries in the consumer category was often indistinguishable from the professionals with the winners demonstrating very high quality cuisine, respect for tea, and adding their own personal or family influences. Kerryann Hetherington offered a very personal Real High Tea, produced with the involvement of her family, and worthy of the Gold Medal she received. Rebekah Tilbury similarly impressed the judges with a very inspired tea pairing using Dilmah Springtime Fragrant Oolong.
Genevieve Bax’ Opulent Decadence theme added to respect for tea, the use of good quality, locally sourced ingredients and a very elegant setting. The Consumer Winners will join the Professional category winners in visiting Sri Lanka. Given the contestants’ often elaborate, well prepared and very personal high teas, the judges concluded the session observing that in complementing fine cuisine, tea inspiration and sustainability with crockery, cutlery and recipes that had special resonance in their family histories, it was an experience that is considered a privilege.
Overall national winners will receive in addition to the medals and Certificates awarded, a prize consisting of a visit to Sri Lanka to fine tune their knowledge of tea in Dilmah Tea gardens, and enjoy a luxurious vacation.
- Shangri-La Hotel Sydney Althea Eley & Felicity Goodchild – Joint National Winners
- Stamford Plaza Brisbane Revecca Fujiwara & Natalie Noriega – Joint National Winners
- Pullman Cairns International Melanie Day & Ashley Hindmarsh – Runner up
- Kerryann Hetherington Victoria – National Winner
- Rebekah Tilbury Western Australia – 1st Runner up
- Genevieve Bax Queensland – 2nd Runner up
Contestants who performed especially well in each state are recognised for their achievement.
- Western Australia – The Sassy Cookie Sue Whiting & Marie Cathriona Louis-Jean
- South Australia – Hilton – Adelaide Jon Mckeigue & Sam Cairncross
- Victoria & Tasmania – William Angliss Institute April Werkmuller & Minh Duong
- New South Wales – Novotel Wollongong Northbeach Helen Kohen & Chantelle Drolc
- New South Wales – Le Cordon Bleu,Sydney Mario Angelo Roche & Joseph Marcellino Roche
- New South Wales – Josophan’s-Fine Chocolates Jodie Van Der Velden & Hannah Van Der Velden
- South Australia Fatin Shabbar
- New South Wales Alison Burdon
- Victoria Ingrid Oosterhuis
- New South Wales Justine Crawford