Taranaki chef delivers beef and lamb excellence

Freddie Ponder, BLNZ Ambassador Chef
Freddie Ponder

On Monday night, Beef and Lamb New Zealand Inc Ambassador Chef, Freddie Ponder of Salt Restaurant in New Plymouth hosted 45 guests at his very first Ambassador Series dinner.

Freddie presented his guests with a five-course degustation menu – with each dish incorporating at least two cuts of beef or lamb – which was designed to showcase the skills that saw him named as a 2018 Beef and Lamb New Zealand Ambassador Chef.

One of Freddie’s specialties is working with more unusual cuts in creative ways to bring dishes to the table which his diners wouldn’t normally consider eating.

“Working with both primary and secondary cuts gives me the platform to be innovative with food, last night I served a beef liver and bone marrow pâté dipped in beetroot and spiced wine gel. I think it was a hit with the guests and I always like to see the expression on peoples faces as they eat something that is often considered to be unusual,” says Ponder.

Born in London but Kiwi proud, Freddie has been working at Salt on the Waterfront for three and a half years. With his twin brother Richard as sous chef, Freddie loves living in Taranaki with its abundance of fresh seasonal produce.

The Ambassador Chefs are the voices of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, driving innovation and creativity within the foodservice sector. Leading into the dinner Freddie ran a demonstration to a group of local chefs, talking them through the process of constructing one of his beef dishes.

The group of chefs were then seated at a special chef’s head table for the five-course dinner which was an exclusive opportunity only available to other chefs currently holding the Beef and Lamb Excellence Award -177 restaurants nation-wide hold the Excellence Award.

Freddie’s dinner is the first of five Beef and Lamb Ambassador series dinners, next up is Kate Fay of Cibo, Parnell in Auckland. Kate’s dinner is being held on National Lamb Day, 24 May.

For more information on the 2018 Ambassador Chefs, visit nzexcellenceawards.co.nz.

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