Exceptional chefs boost New Zealand’s unique food story

2018 Ambassador Chefs
The 2018 Ambassador Chefs are (left to right):) Harry Williams, Freddie Ponder, Kate Fay, Alistair Forster and Damon McGinniss.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand have today announced their selection of the nation’s top restaurants and the five chefs they believe to be producing the best beef and lamb dishes in the country.

Over 170 restaurants have been named as 2018 Excellence Award holders and awarded a gold plate, after being judged by culinary trained assessors who have been scouting restaurants serving only the best beef and lamb dishes.

During the assessment process, five chefs who excelled with their dishes were selected as Ambassador Chefs, joining the ranks of eight lifetime Platinum Ambassador Chefs, who together will work on behalf of B+LNZ Inc to pass on their skills to the wider industry.

Harry Williams lamb dish
A dish from Harry Williams featuring smoked lamb cutlet with peas, coconut & spinach cannelloni and pickled shallots.

The 2018 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ambassador Chefs are:

  • Alistair Forster, Forsters Mahana, Nelson
  • Damon McGinniss, Emporium Bar & Eatery at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel, Napier
  • Freddie Ponder, Salt Restaurant at the Waterfront Hotel, New Plymouth
  • Harry Williams, Alpha Street Kitchen, Cambridge
  • Kate Fay, Cibo Parnell, Auckland

Kate Fay from Cibo is looking forward to the year ahead and the opportunity to continue with her adventurous ways of cooking beef and lamb.

“At Cibo, I constantly like to push the boundaries. Currently we are matching our beef and lamb dishes with flavours that they have grazed and fed on and we utilise all parts of the animal, even cooking in their own fats.

“It is extremely rewarding to have been named a Beef and Lamb Ambassador Chef for 2018, I have an exciting year ahead,” says Kate.

The Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards programme is the nation’s longest running culinary awards and in addition provides the opportunity to strengthen the relationships between the primary producers and restaurants.

Restaurants are judged on the level of cookery, creativity and the execution of their beef and lamb cuisine.

Food writer and Listener columnist, Lauraine Jacobs admires the awards and what they stand for.

“Ultimately, the awards provide a platform to highlight the careful and meticulous work our chefs do in presenting New Zealand’s premium beef and lamb dishes to a very appreciative dining audience.

Brilliant and thoughtful dishes can be found in many of our top restaurants throughout the country and the gold plate on display is reassuring to both international tourists and locals,” says Lauraine.

For the full list of 2018 Excellence Award holders or to find out more about the Ambassador Chefs, visit nzexcellenceawards.co.nz.

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