New cooking show on gold mining island

What do you get when you cross hit TV shows ‘Master Chef’ and ‘Survivor’ with a good dose of PNG creativity and humour on a tiny gold mining island in the midst of a pandemic? Why, ‘Island Chef’ of course!

Island Chef is the brainchild of PNG catering and camp management company, NCS. It is in direct response to COVID-19 and is providing some light relief and entertainment to thousands of workers stuck on the remote island of Lihir. 

It showcases the best of PNG resilience as well as the skills and culinary expertise of NCS’s catering team.

How It Works

  • Eleven teams of four, expertly lead by a professionally trained chef, will battle it out to be crowned ‘Island Chef 2020’
  • Teams will cook a mix of their own signature dishes and create new dishes from mystery boxes of ingredients
  • Three judges will score teams on presentation, taste and technique
  • Diners at Lihir’s main mess facility where the competition will take place will also be involved in scoring the teams’ dishes
  • Elimination rounds will be held over four weeks with two teams eliminated each week
  • Dish choices for the grand finale will be decided by the “2020 Island Chef Competition” executive team members consisting of; Anitua Group CEO, Patrick Doekes, NCS site project manager, William Gracie, purchasing and logistics operations manager, Antony Hebron and site services manager, Steve Honey.
  • The final round will see the last two surviving teams go ‘head to head’ in a cook off challenge within a two hour timing as they compete for the glory of being crowned ‘Island Chef 2020’.

Island Chef is a great distraction,” says NCS Chef, Philip Wandi, from New Ireland Province.

“We have all been worried about the coronavirus but now we’ve got something fun to think about and fun to do. Plus, I’m looking forward to competing against the other NCS chefs. We come from all over the country and can be very competitive when it comes to our cooking.”

Patrick Doekes, CEO of NCS’ parent company, Anitua, is relieved to see so much enthusiasm for Island Chef.

“COVID-19 and its associated travel bans has meant that just about all of us are well and truly stuck on Lihir and away from our loved ones for a long and indefinite period of time. It’s a really tough position for everyone and we’ve been worried about how it will impact people’s health.”

He says Island Chef has “most definitely lightened the mood and given us something to look forward to.”

Island Chef can be viewed on Facebook (Island Chef Competition 2020).

“We’re expecting to have a lot of likes,” enthuses Doekes. “Not only is just about everyone in PNG on Facebook but tens of thousands of people have lived or worked on Lihir since the mine started. And I don’t just mean Papua New Guineans, there’s a huge international community of ex-workers and residents, especially Australians, who’ll be interested in Island Chef.” 

Press release