2023 Sushi Master Competition grand final!

On Tuesday 11th July, we held the Sushi Master Competition grand final at Ponsonby. Check out our staff’s amazing speed and creativity! Staff competed to create their own unique sushi, as well as roll the best classic chicken avocado roll like in the semis.

30 staff competed, flying in from as far away as Christchurch, Nelson, Hawke’s Bay and New Plymouth. The regional staff made a day of it, visiting the Onehunga drive thru and Newmarket K10 before the big final – and big it certainly was! Friends, family and fellow staff members came down to provide support, making for a lively atmosphere. Just as well we closed the Ponsonby shop for the evening so everyone could make plenty of noise and enjoy the fun! Staff had 15 minutes to take any of our dozens of regular ingredients – and one ingredient they could bring along – to create an original sushi masterpiece. Check out some of the creations – and the focus of the artists!

  The judges were K10 head chef Yoshi, director Nick, and head of national operations Takeshi – and they had a tough task in front of them! Staff received points in five categories: Creativity & flair, taste, appearance, practicality (can we sell it?) and marketability (customer appeal). It was a tough job telling the entries apart – could you do it?

In case your taste buds weren’t tempted by all the amazing photos… just sit back and watch the sushi train roll by 🙂

Apart from the creativity challenge, staff still had the classic test, same as the Wellington, Christchurch, south/east Auckland and central Auckland round: roll one classic teriyaki chicken avocado sushi as best as possible, for good appearance, speed, weight and food safety. The focus and effort was next level!

Area manager Lili explaining the challenge
Staff fully focused on Lili’s explanations!
Pasang from Nelson showing great care and attention to detail!
Yohanes from Rotorua showing his speed and experience!
Partner Tony Shen from Bombay was flying along!


After a close competition, it was time for the awards! The fastest sushi roller was Bam from Ponsonby, and three entries were tied for the most beautiful creation: Yohanes from Rotorua, Amanda from Botany, and Stacy from Ponsonby. Hometown advantage seemed to have helped!  

Then came the three big prizes: Supattra from Hastings won the master chef creation section and Jin from New Plymouth was the best overall sushi roller. Finally, the grand prize of a $2,500 travel voucher went to… Amber from Silverdale! Well done everyone!

(After some confusion!) Nick presented the prizes with customary good humour
Amber celebrates her victory!

And don’t think that everyone else went home unhappy. Everyone of course got to take home their own sushi, a catered meal from one of Auckland’s best Chinese restaurants, and to try as much of everyone else’s creations as they wanted! It was a genuine gourmet evening!

Unique creations which were beautiful to look at – and eat!


Only half the rolls the contestants created!

Finally, as you’ve probably noticed, all competitors in the finals got a special T-shirt with their name on the back. Staff can wear this shirt any time in their home shop, so if you see someone with a sushi master T-shirt, ask them about the competition – and how you can step up to the challenge next year! See you all soon!  

2023 Sushi Master Competition week three!

This Tuesday, the Sushi Master Competition hit Oteha Valley on Auckland’s North Shore on Tuesday 4th July at 5PM. Check out the great pictures and videos!
This was the last semi-final before the national finals at Ponsonby, 5PM on 11 July. Over 30 staff will compete, some flying in from all over NZ, and everyone is welcome to come and watch!

Team members from across west Auckland and the North Shore came to compete at Oteha Valley, with plenty of friendly rivalry and support for their team mates. The Oteha shop has lots of space to spread out, so staff could make plenty of noise and enjoy the fun!

Area manager Lili explaining the rules and format
Past champion area manager Akiko led off with her customary energetic demonstration!

This round had the same format as the Wellington, Christchurch, south/east Auckland and central Auckland rounds: roll one classic teriyaki chicken avocado sushi as best you can, for good appearance, speed, weight and food safety. We had 12 competitors from five shops, plus two directors trying to prove they still have it!

Staff gathered around, keen to see the results!

The west and Shore staff brought some serious positive energy to their efforts and supporting each other – and the scores reflected their efforts! Check out the speed and accuracy in the videos!

Successful contestant Amber from Silverdale showing her speed!
Boy from Takanini shop representing south Auckland with aplomb!
Hometown contestant Rie from Oteha Valley did a great job!
Rita from Lincoln Road showed her experience to win through to the final!

After a close competition, Harper from Albany, Rita from Lincoln Road and Amber from Silverdale made it to the final next week! They’ll compete for a $2,500 travel prize! (not to mention second place, third place, and crowd favourite prizes too!) Well done everyone!

To finish, enjoy these bonus shots of director Costa showing us he’s still got the skills – and is always the centre of attention!

All the rolls the contestants created!

We love friendly competition and making work fun at St. Pierre’s. Next week is the grand final at Ponsonby shop on Tuesday 11th July. Staff will fly in from all over NZ to come against the home town staff and see who is NZ’s sushi master! Look out for more photos and videos, and come support your team mates – and see you there!