The Dilmah family invited Australians to craft their vision for afternoon Tea for the 21st Century in their High Tea @home Challenge 2015. The outcome surprised even the tea inspired judges who were fresh from the professional Dilmah Real High Tea Global Challenge which was held in Colombo in July.

Judges Shaun Thompson (Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge Australia National Champion 2015) and Natalia Noriega (Australia National Champion 2013) joined Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando's son Dilhan in judging the contestants. Each of the finalists were assessed on the quality of their presentation, innovation and creativity of their food, tea preparation and knowledge, their emphasis on sustainable ingredients and their quality of their food with their verbal explanation, menus, table decoration all considered within the judging criteria. 

Mirroring the principles of the Global Challenge that was recently hotly contested by professional teams from around the world, the objective was to define a genuinely tea inspired and indulgent afternoon tea experience for the 21st Century. Merrill and his sons Dilhan and Malik emphasize the importance of tea as the beverage most relevant to a 21st Century lifestyle on account of its purity, variety and natural goodness. In 2008 they launch the global Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge to bring respect for the herb to the most pervasive tea drinking occasion in the world, high tea. 

The Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge is formed around respect for tea in its artisanal form; the subtle variations in aroma, appearance, flavour, strength and texture of tea from different estates and regions are celebrated in inspired pairings designed to integrate tea and food in a very indulgent way. The Global Challenge brought professional teams with culinary and hospitality expertise together in reimagining the afternoon tea experience around the variety in real tea, or tea made in the traditional manner. The outcome was nothing less than a revolution with tea inspired gastronomy, mixology, and presentation forming an experience that defines afternoon tea for the 21st Century.

Dilmah's High Tea @home contest extends the professional challenge to tea aficionados around Australia. The result of the contest was a surprise, as 15-year old Chloe Kues won a Gold Medal and emerged overall national winner. The judges applauded Chloe's passion, inspired pairing and presentation, all of which were beyond their expectations. In announcing the winner the judges observed that each contestant demonstrated tremendous creativity in their interpretation of high tea, confirming that the mission that the Fernando family set out on in 2008, has been a success.

Chloe will be accompanied by her family in enjoying her prize, an all-expenses paid trip to Sri Lanka including four days in Ceylon Tea Trails, a Dilmah family owned Relais & Chateaux resort recognized as one of the most luxurious in the world.