Marc Soper, executive chef at Wharekauhau Lodge in South Wairarapa, has been named in the newly formed NZChefs’ High Performance Squad.

Soper, who in 2016 was awarded the New Zealand Chef of the year award with the NZ Culinary Institute and the Chef of the Capital Award, is named in the eight-strong team looking to make its mark at key international events.

NZChefs President Graham Hawkes said Soper will join the country’s elite and emerging chefs including: MacLean Fraser, Blake Haines, Ganesh Khedekar, Eric Lim, Greg Piner, Mark Sycamore and Darren Wright.

“With food tourism continuing to be a growth story, they will be out there helping to promote our country as a must visit destination for great cuisine.”

Graham said members of the Squad were selected based on a range of criteria such as previous competition work, having been identified as an emerging culinary talent, and a demonstrated commitment to meeting the challenges ahead.

The team will compete at key events at July’s New Zealand Hospitality Championships then selected members will travel to Guam where they will compete in the Hans Beuschkens World Junior Chefs Challenge, Global Chefs Challenge and Global Pastry Chef Challenge. Some of the other events also being considered include Battle of the Lion and the Asia Pastry Cup in Singapore.

“We all know how fantastic the food is here and now it’s time to start letting the rest of the world in on the secret.”