A Wellington-based duo with French connections has just won the Dilmah Real High Tea Global Challenge in Sri Lanka.
Executive Chef Laurent Loudeac and Assistant Maitre d’ Camille Furminieux of Hippopotamus restaurant, part of Wellington’s celebrated Museum Art Hotel establishment, competed with 21 teams from 14 countries to take out the international title.
This first ever global tea challenge brought together the winners from a series of national competitions held over the previous eight years.
Loudeac and Furminieux wowed the judges with their high tea degustation menu, pairing Dilmah teas and tea cocktails with three savoury and three sweet recipes, including two original creations featuring tea.
The winning menu featured duck consomme infused with a Dilmah jubilee tea, and a crepe suzette matched with a tea-infused mocktail.
Loudeac also served his signature salmon sashimi with wasabi, pairing this with a single estate Ran Watte tea. A mille feuille was infused with strawberry tea. The menu was titled ‘The Meeting of the Senses’.
“We are blown away with the win – it’s very humbling and really puts New Zealand on the world stage when it comes to offering high tea with a twist. I guess you could say the tea revolution is underway – it’s becoming increasingly popular to make tea part of cooking as it’s so versatile to use in gastronomy,” Loudeac said.
“The competition was intense and involved us experimenting with different tea flavours and included 12 different tea varieties in our menu. It was important to select a tea that had an aroma and taste that would best complement the dish,” Camille Furminieux said.
For the past four years, Hippopotamus has been offering guests a high tea experience with a distinct French influence, serving madeleines, macarons and mousse among the treats offered.
The Museum Art Hotel is a privately owned luxury boutique hotel on the city waterfront of New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. The Hippopotamus Restaurant offers some of Wellington’s best fine dining and now a world renowned, award winning high tea.
The hotel has won international renown and admiration for its quirky distinctive style which is fuelled by owner Chris Parkin’s substantial collection of original art works that includes a collection of limited edition motorcycles.
Background: Museum Art Hotel
Museum Art Hotel Wellington is a 165-room boutique hotel located in central Wellington with harbour views. It is a few steps from New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa.
The spacious lobby features opulent décor, walls adorned with original New Zealand art and a bar/café in which to relax.
Listed on Yahoo’s list of ‘Ten of the Best hotels with magnificent artwork of the World’, the hotel boasts its own “book of art” with a self-guided tour of the many art works.
Accommodation includes 165 hotel rooms and luxurious apartment style studios and suites featuring exquisitely appointed bathrooms complete with bathtubs for two.
Leisure facilities include a fitness centre, sauna, indoor heated swimming pool, spa pool, day spa, and a lobby bar.
Hippopotamus Restaurant and Bar serves a fine French-inspired cuisine, under the direction of Executive Chef Laurent Loudeac, and is styled as “Over-the-top, vintage French, the best bar in New Zealand”. It is open daily for breakfast and dinner, Monday to Friday for lunch, high tea daily 2-4.30pm.