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Ready, Set ... Cook

Posted on 31 May, 2018

Knives and forks at the ready! The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) hosted  the Great Gold Coast Cook Off with celebrity chefs Manu Feildel and Colin Fassnidge taking on China’s best.

The pair showed off their gastronomy skills when they come up against Master Chefs Wang Haiwei and Li Yongtai as part of the Pan Pacific Pork Expo, which brought together the pig industry. 

Manu said hosting the high-profile chefs from the Chinese Cuisine Association helped expose Australian pork to the greater Chinese market.

He and Colin have been long-time supporters of the Australian pork industry’s chef program, PorkStar. They joined the expo after spending time with farmers and the broader industry.

The Channel 7 host of My Kitchen Rules said he was more than up for the challenge of the Cook Off.

“Bring it on!” Manu said.

“This is the perfect opportunity to showcase our beautiful Australian pork. I’m really looking forward to showing how versatile pork is.”

Fellow TV chef Colin was equally eager to get in to the kitchen.

“Creating delicious pork dishes really lets you indulge your imagination. Let’s get some pork on some forks!”

Manu created pork cutlets with a warm fennel and red capsicum jam while Colin’s culinary piece was a miso poached pork fillet with pearl barley and wilted greens.

Manu was caught jokingly feeding Chef Haiwei a morsel of his dish at the Cook Off (pictured above).

Chef Yongtai stuck with a classic – sweet and sour pork, while Chef Haiwei put a Chinese spin on pork balls.

GCCEC’s kitchen team were then challenged to re-create each of the dishes for 500 guests.

GCCEC Executive Chef Garry Kindred said his younger chefs were keen to see the techniques and cooking methods that each of the chefs employed.

 “Having chefs from two countries, who are held in such high regard and who are willing to share their methods provides an exciting opportunity for our kitchen team,” he said.

 “Our chefs and kitchen hands are enthusiastic and exceptionally creative in their own right, so they really did justice to the dishes.”


Bio info

Chef Wang Haiwei established his first catering enterprise in 1997. He has won the China Golden Chef Award twice. He also plays an active role in the exchange of Chinese culinary art and catering culture with foreign countries.

Chef Haiwei is also an author and Certified Master Chef, Holder of A-level Certificate of Occupational Qualification (Chinese Culinary Category), Senior Level Judge for the China Catering Industry and a member of the Famous Chefs’ Committee of China Cuisine Association, among many other qualifications.

Chef Li Yongtai also has a long list of qualifications that includes Senior Certified Master Chef, Holder of A-level Certificate of Occupational Qualification (Chinese Culinary Category), Senior Examiner of National-level Professional Skills Identification Examination, Senior Judge of National-level Professional Skills Competition (Catering Category), 1st Class National Judge of National Catering Industry, Cantonese Cuisine Master of China, a member of the Famous Chefs’ Committee of China Cuisine Association, Culinary Professor.

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What Our Clients Say

I have conducted two major formal dinners at GCCEC for approx 700 people each time, the more recent of these being held in March 2015. I am completely satisfied with all aspects of working with GCCEC and their performance in presenting our function. They were completely professional and were willing to do things exactly the way I wanted them done, even meeting some unusual requirements. When I requested to make layout changes only hours before the dinner the request was accommodated immediately and with professional ease. The dinner was an alternate drop three course full service meal with drinks package, and it was without a doubt the best formal dinner I have ever attended. I have managed many similar dinners in the past but this dinner achieved by far the best result, it was the easiest to organise and to then manage on the night. Our GCCEC functions manager was a competent and willing professional who achieved an absolutely flawless event. I am still trying to understand how the catering staff were able to prepare almost 700 perfectly cooked and presented meals and get them to the tables whilst still hot. An excellent event perfectly presented by cheerful and competent professional staff.

Bruce Schmidtchen
Chairman, 5RAR Assoc Inc 50th Anniversary Reunion Committee

We have held our major event, the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds (CMSF), at the GCCEC on six occasions since it opened in 2004. Through holding our event at the GCCEC we have established a terrific relationship with the venue. Each and every staff member works tirelessly to ensure that our event is run to the highest calibre. Any task, no matter how little or large is undertaken to ensure our expectations are met and our event is delivered successfully.

AIST Events Team

It’s the small things that make such a big difference. My organisation has held its conference annually at GCCEC since 2008, during which I’ve experienced unparalleled service. I continue to be amazed by the dedication, friendliness and professionalism of all staff – be it sales and event management to back of house and floor staff. They know my event inside and out, making the experience seamless. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every conference I’ve held here!

Marika MacKenzie
Communications Manager, Optometry Queensland Northern Territory

You guys did it again! It is such a pleasure to work with a dedicated, proactive and friendly team. Your can-do attitude, your attention to detail and your willingness to try something new all help to make our lives easier and to keep our event fresh and interesting. Once again, the food was superb and the level of service provided by everyone at the centre was exceptional.

Julie Hood
Director Events Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association

There is no doubt that next time we need to be ‘creative’ on the Gold Coast; the GCCEC is the only venue we’d choose. No matter how difficult or unusual our demands prior to the event, nothing proved impossible for you and during the conference your professionalism and attention to detail ensured that everything ran without a hitch enabling us to focus properly on the job in hand. Last, but not least, the catering was superb!

Greg O’Neil
General Manager - Rural Merchandise CRT Rural Supplies