After assessing almost 70 entries from leading chefs around the country, an expert panel has chosen the 12 finalists for the 2018 Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards.
The judges were looking for dishes that deliver on the expectation of authentic, inspirational and delicious food experiences, using Silver Fern Farms naturally raised, grass-fed red meat. The perfect balance of taste and texture of the red meat and the accompanying ingredients, as well as creativity and presentation of the dishes, separated the best chefs from the rest by the smallest of margins.
Head judges – acclaimed chef Geoff Scott and founding editor of Dish magazine Catherine Bell – say it was difficult to trim the entrants down to only 12 finalists.
“We are very excited by the positive feedback from the judging team. These highly qualified assessors reported delicious dishes and amazing feats of creativity. What’s more they noted an ever-increasing awareness from chefs of the value of cooking with premium quality red meat, something Silver Fern Farms consistently delivers. Without doubt, this year the competition has been more intense than ever. Choosing category winners and the supreme award-winner from such a talented line-up is going to be even more challenging.”
The judges were especially impressed by the number of outstanding entries in the new Emerging Chef category. The field has been narrowed down to two finalists, Patrick Pope-Moody, apprentice chef at Chameleon at the InterContinental and Alexis Vienot, sous chef at 180 degrees at the Copthorne, both in Wellington.
Marketing manager foodservice, Bernie de Bono says she is delighted with the standard of entries this year.
“We are always excited to work with such talented culinary professionals, the awards bring out the absolute best of their skills. The diversity in the dishes this year is outstanding yet again and chefs have risen to the challenge, creating extraordinary dishes and providing truly memorable experiences for diners.”
Diners can experience the 12 finalist dishes uniquely prepared for the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards until the end of July 2018 from Waiheke Island to Dunedin.
The judges will visit all finalist restaurants this month. Both, bring a wealth of experience in judging national food competitions and they say they are looking forward to applying their experienced palates to judging the finalist dishes.
Winners will be announced at an event in Auckland on 7 June 2018, where six category winners will be revealed and the Chef of the Year and Emerging Chef of the Year named.
The 2018 Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Award’s 12 finalists and their dishes are:
- The Archive Bar & Bistro at Mudbrick, Waiheke Island – Logan Coath, head chef, slow cooked Silver Fern Farms lamb shoulder, carrot, sunflower tahini, pomegranate, burnt red cabbage and dukkah
- White + Wong’s, Auckland – Ashish Bhatnagar, head chef, Silver Fern Farms BBQ beef short ribs, cauliflower puree, xo wild mushrooms, charred spring onion, garlic shoots, white radish kimchi, whipped garlic, tendon crisps
- Palate Restaurant, Hamilton – Mat McLean, head chef, Silver Fern Farms lamb cutlets, lamb shank moussaka ravioli, eggplant puree, black garlic, minted hollandaise
- Victoria Street Bistro, Hamilton – Andrew Clarke, chef de cuisine, Pecan Smoked Silver Fern beef cheek, crispy sweetbreads, tendon, sweetcorn, cress and pickles
- Mills Reef Winery, Tauranga – Anthony Lawler, head chef, Silver Fern Farms venison strip-loin, textures of beets, horseradish yoghurt, herbed goats curd
- Amayjen – The Restaurant, Feilding – Andrew May, head chef, Silver Fern Farms tenderloin of venison, burnt onion ash, venison shank & potato pie, roasted beetroots, shallot petals, cranberry gel, venison jus
- Chameleon at the InterContinental, Wellington – Paul Limacher, chef de cuisine, Silver Fern Farms beef tenderloin, green pea crust, black garlic mash, carrot pickle, shiitake, edamame salad, umami butter
- Pravda Café and Grill, Wellington – William Hobby, head chef, Silver Fern Farms lamb, carrot puree, black garlic, citrus and jus
- Noble Rot Wine Bar, Wellington – Punit D’Souza, head chef, Silver Fern Farms venison Denver leg, osso bucco, parsnip, pear, vanilla onions, preserved stone fruit, confit carrot
- Hopgood’s, Nelson – Aaron Ballantyne, head chef, Silver Fern Farms venison, chestnut polenta, caramelised celeriac, fig & wild mushroom tapenade
- Olivers Victoria Store, Clyde – James Waite, head chef, Silver Fern Farms roast lamb rump, lamb shoulder spring roll, bok choy, radish, ginger, miso caramel, shitake jus
- Vault 21, Dunedin – Greg Piner, executive chef, lime leaf infused sticky Silver Fern Farms Reserve short ribs: textures of mandarin, wasabi potato cake, crispy sea kelp, cashew and ginger slaw
The Emerging Chefs finalists and their dishes are:
- One80 degree at the Copthorne, Wellington – Alexis Vienot, sous chef Silver Fern Farms braised lamb shoulder cigar, lamb sweetbread and leek bonbon, organic milk dried lactose, cauliflower and almond, spiced jam
- Chameleon at the InterContinental, Wellington – Patrick Pope-Moody, apprentice chef, Silver Fern Farms venison short loin, fig, cauliflower & goat curd puree, beetroot, beet kraut, beetroot tile, sorrel.