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A new season and a new challenge for New Zealand’s best restaurants

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Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018

Silver Fern Farms has announced a new format restaurant awards with new categories, new judges and a new season showcasing autumn red meat dishes in 2018.

The 2018 Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards build on the success of the Premier Selection Awards, the refreshed format will see restaurants showcasing their skill and expertise with red meat at the end of the summer dining season.

In another positive change, the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards will recognise the talent of emerging chefs with a new category for chefs with less than five years’ experience.

The judging panel has also been refreshed and will be led by two new head judges, Catherine Bell and Geoff Scott. Catherine Bell was the co-founder of DISH magazine and is an experienced food competition judge having been involved with the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards for many years. Geoff Scott is a well-known New Zealand chef who has himself taken part in the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards. He is now writing about food, consulting and lecturing as well as judging food competitions.

The competition opens for entries in mid-January 2018, with a select group of chefs from across New Zealand being invited to create original dishes using cuts from Silver Fern Farms extensive range of beef, lamb and venison.
Silver Fern Farms General Manager Marketing, Sharon Angus, is excited about the changes to one of New Zealand’s most prestigious restaurant competitions.

“A change of season will bring out a natural change in the styles of the red meat dishes from our chefs and their restaurants.”

For the first time, the competition will include an Emerging Chef category which has been created to attract new talent and to engage with a wider group of food service professionals.

“We know that young and upcoming chefs have great creativity and are not afraid to experiment to create extraordinary results. We want to give them the opportunity to demonstrate these skills as they compete against more established chefs,” says Angus.

Twelve finalists will be selected to proceed to the finalist round of judging, where Catherine and Geoff will co-judge all finalist dishes. At least one finalist will be selected from the following regions:
• Northland/Auckland
• Central North Island
• Lower North Island
• Upper South Island
• Lower South Island

Kiwi diners will be able to sample the dishes on the menus at participating restaurants during the judging period from 8 March to 12 April 2018. The 12 finalists will feature their creations until the end of July.

Last year’s supreme winner was Paul Limacher (pictured), chef de Cuisine at Chameleon at the InterContinental Wellington. Paul was both proud and humbled by his achievement and delighted with the recognition he received.

The judges described this dish as “a very elegant, well-presented and visually appealing dish. Every detail was attended to – there were lots of rich, savoury aromas, a hot plate, lots to look at and flavours to anticipate.”
His winning dish featured Silver Fern Farms Reserve Beef Tenderloin with a mushroom ragout, roast parmesan gnocchi, button onion and asparagus.

Red meat will remain the focus in the 2018 Restaurant Awards with commitment from Silver Fern Farms to provide the finest cuts and encourage chefs to showcase their artistry to produce memorable dining experiences.

“We have been working alongside chefs and our distribution partner to deliver grass-fed product of consistently high standard. I’m excited to see how the food industry’s most talented hands leverage this to create something truly extraordinary,” says Angus.

The Silver Fern Farm Restaurant Awards categories will be:
• Best Chef
• Best Restaurant
• Best Regional Restaurant
• Best Beef dish
• Best Lamb dish
• Best Venison dish
• Best Emerging Chef

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