Umaga takes on the French

It is well known the French possess some of the finest culinary skills in the world and last night Tana Umaga put that to the test as he took part in the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Challenge against former French rugby opponent Olivier Magne.

The event took place in the ‘Cloud’ on Queens Wharf in Auckland. Both former rugby internationals representing their respective countries were required to cook a three-course meal in 90 minutes aided by two international top chefs. Umaga was assisted by award winning Al Brown and Magne used the talent of Philippe Clergue, chef de cuisine of Le Cordon Bleu Paris.

Considered the under dogs, the New Zealand team produced a starter of seared scallops and scampi with celeriac and crisp prosciutto, a main of lamb three ways with kumara fondant, pea crush and cherry relish and a desert of orange creme caramel with Cointreau raisins.

Tana said “It was a whole new experience for me and I have a new found respect for chefs and the pressure they are under to get the meal to the table within the time frame while ensuring it tastes incredible and looks like a work of art.”

A panel of three judges and two from the crowd for each course voted in an 11-4 victory over France which Umaga hopes is the indication of what is going to happen when the All Blacks play France in their Rugby World Cup match this weekend.