The teams have spoken! The third and the final day of the judging has come to a close and we are left with a treasure trove of tea inspired innovations.
Selvana Chelvanaigum & Ian Jones from Australia started the day by taking our judges on an Australian Journey. Using a uniquely Australian theme with Australian wild flowers and plants as deco, aboriginal music playing in the backyard, they brought Australia right to the high tea table. They also made sure they maintained sustainability right throughout with wood chips salvaged out of a wood yard for food presentation and table decoration. The honey they used in their food preparations is Backyard honey, a honey that is collected by suburban residents in their backyards. Their Anzac, a tribute to fallen soldiers of the First World War paired with the Dilmah Nuwara Eliya Afternoon Tea was a remarkable creation that showcased respect, thoughtfulness and patriotism as well as a perfect understanding of tea.
Amongst the proceedings of the day, Chef Uwe Micheel, President of the Emirates Culinary Guild and Ragnar Fridriksson – General Manager WorldChefs awarded Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando the Corporate Membership of the Emirates Culinary Guild earlier today. “It is my honour to handover the membership of the Emirates Culinary Guild to Mr Merrill J. Fernando. We thank him for his support for the chefs and his work in the industry and look forward to many more years to come.” says Chef Uwe while presenting the founder with the membership.
The Hong Kong Cricket Club presented a Real High Tea inspired by the celebration of Hong Kong’s return to China after 150 years. The table setting included the country flags as well as elements representing present day Hong Kong. The favourite of all the judges was the Apple Welsh Cakes paired with Nuwara Eliya Afternoon Tea. The Welsh cakes were in honour of the Welsh guard – the last official army to live in Hong Kong. Peter Kuruvita stated that the Welsh Cakes should replace scones used in high tea occasions everywhere and for Simon Gault it was just perfect.
Tess Bar & Kitchen presented a high tea inspired by the 50 years of Singapore’s independence compressed into a journey from olden day Singapore to modern times. They based it on the five elements of their culture– fire, sunlight, water, wood & matter and equated it to the five senses. Their menu focused on the multicultural society of Singapore representing Indian, Chinese, Malay & Eurasian influences on their cuisine. Of their pairings, the Chunky Codfish Pâté with a touch of Sea Urchin paired with New-Age Old Fashioned had Bernd Uber saying “Your Sea Urchin was beautiful & nice. The pairing – it turned wow on the palate”.
Our last team for the day and the last team to present at the Dilmah Real High Tea Global Challenge, Stamford Plaza Brisbane presented a Japanese-Peruvian High Tea to the judges with passion and innovation at the heart of it all. The personal stories shared had been entertaining, the respect for tea and the dexterity with which the Peruvian and Japanese culture had been amalgamated into their adoptive Australian culture was truly remarkable. Their Lacuma Orange Iced Tea Affogato made with Dilmah Yata Watte Tea was the innovation that opened the eyes of all. “Affogato now has a new meaning for me” said judge Simon Gault while judge Peter Kuruvita said “I think I will be using a perfectly brewed cup of tea in my affagato from now on.”
The three days of judging has ended and the paradigm shift in tea is stirring. Tea was reimagined in these 21 revolutionary high teas, with the traditions of tea being reinvented, redefined and recreated. The Global Tea Champion remains to be crowned tomorrow and the anxiety levels are on the rise! Stay tuned for updates right here!