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Exceptional chefs boost New Zealand’s unique food story

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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 Beef + Lamb New Zealand to pass on their skills to the wider industry.

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

  • Alistair Forster

“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.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.

“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


Huntaway Lodge, Kaeo
Marsden Estate Winery, Kerikeri
McKenzie’s Lot, Kingsgate AutoLodge, Paihia
Ramada Resort Reia Taipa Beach
The Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Russell
The Quay, Whangarei

Annabelles, St. Heliers
Black Cottage Café, Albany
Cable Bay Vineyards, Waiheke Island Casita Miro, Waiheke Island
Cibo Parnell
Cooke’s Restaurant, Hotel Grand Windsor, CBD
Cuff Café, Pakuranga
DeBretts Kitchen, Hotel De Brett, Auckland CBD
Fish Restaurant, Hilton Hotel, Auckland CBD
Five Restaurant & Bar, Mission Bay
Giraffe, Auckland Viaduct
Hectors, Heritage Hotel, Auckland CBD
Jervois Steakhouse, Herne Bay
Manly Bar & Grill, Whangaparaoa
MASU, Auckland CBD
Mr Toms, Ponsonby
Orbit 360° Dining, SkyCity
Plume Restaurant, Matakana
Saan, Ponsonby
Soljans Estate Winery, Kumeu
Tantalus Estate, Waiheke Island
Tapestry Dining, Pullman Hotel, Auckland CBD
Te Maroro, Jet Park Hotel Auckland Airport The Sugar Club, SkyCity
Zest Restaurant and Bar, Citylife Hotel, Auckland CBD

Agenda, Hamilton
Alpha Street Kitchen & Bar, National Hotel, Cambridge
Bluestone Steakhouse, Hamilton
Crudo, Hamilton
Fahrenheit Restaurant & Bar, Te Awamutu
Furnace Restaurant & Bar, Hamilton
Huhu Café, Waitomo
Palate Restaurant, Hamilton
Smith & McKenzie Steak House, Hamilton
The Redoubt Bar & Eatery, Te Awamutu
Victoria Street Bistro, Hamilton

Koru at Rapaura, Thames
Pepper Tree Restaurant, Coromandel Town

Ambria Bar & Restaurant, Katikati
Bistro at The Falls Retreat, Waihi
Halo Lounge & Dining, Trinity Wharf, Tauranga
Latitude 37, Mt. Maunganui
Mount Bistro, Mt. Maunganui
Tay Street Beach Café, Mt. Maunganui

Artisan Dining House, Bolton Hotel Boulcott Street Bistro
Cashmere Lounge
Chameleon Restaurant, Intercontinental Hotel
Elements Lyall Bay
Grill Meats Beer
Hillside Kitchen & Cellar
Hummingbird Eatery and Bar
La Bella Italia
Logan Brown
Olive Restaurant
One 80° Restaurant, Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay
Pravda Café
Shed 5 Restaurant & Bar
Steps Restaurant, Travelodge Hotel
The Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant

Comida Café & Restaurant, Nelson
FORD’s Restaurant & Bar, Nelson
Forsters Mahana, Nelson
Oceano, Rutherford Hotel, Nelson
Punga Cove Resort Restaurant, Marlborough
Saint Clair Vineyard Kitchen, Blenheim The Monaco Kitchen, Nelson
Cod and Lobster Brasserie, Nelson
Foredeck Restaurant, Bay of Many Coves, Picton
Precinct Dining Co., Motueka
Quench Restaurant & Bar, Chateau Marlborough
Hotel, Blenheim

50 Bistro, The George Hotel
Bishop Brothers Public House
Bloody Mary’s, Rydges Latimer
Café Valentino
Chillingworth Road
Cook ‘n’ with Gas
Costas Taverna
Craythorne’s Public House
Fig Restaurant & Bar, Quality Hotel Elms
Governors Bay Hotel, Lyttleton
Lake House Restaurant, Ashburton
Market Place, Crowne Plaza
Merrin Street Brewery Bar
Pattersons Restaurant, Commodore Hotel
Pescatore, The George
Sevantis Café & Restaurant
Shackleton’s Bar & Grill, Brinkley Resort, Methven St. Germain
Strawberry Fare, Carlton Hill Hotel, Christchurch
Sugarhorse Bar & Eatery
Terra Viva Café & Deli
The Dubliner Irish Bar & Restaurant, Methven
The Old Vicarage
The Square Restaurant & Bar, Novotel Cathedral Square
No. 31 Restaurant & Bar, Hanmer Springs

Mokoia Restaurant, Waiora Lakeside Spa and Resort
Regent of Rotorua Restaurant & Wine Bar
Stolen Bike Café, Rotorua The Grill, VR Rotorua Lake Resort

Emporium Eatery & Bar, Art Deco Masonic Hotel, Napier
Malo, Havelock North
Mangapapa Hotel, Napier
Mint Restaurant, Napier
Mission Estate Winery Restaurant, Taradale
Philippine Asian Kitchen, Westshore Beach Inn, Napier
Vidal Estate Winery, Hastings

379 The Avenue, Kingsgate Hotel, Wanganui
Aberdeen on Broadway, Palmerston North
Amayjen The Restaurant, Fielding
Dejeuner Restaurant, Palmerston North
Nero Restaurant, Palmerston North
Ruapehu Room, Chateau Tongariro, National Park
Rutland Arms Inn, Wanganui
Table 188, Palmerston North
The Barrelhouse Restaurant & Bar, Dannevirke
The Fat Farmer, Palmerston North

Arborio Restaurant Bar & Café, Puke Ariki, New Plymouth
Bella Vita Restaurant Café & Bar, New Plymouth
Gusto Restaurant Café & Bar, New Plymouth
Juliana’s Restaurant, Auto Lodge Motor Inn, New Plymouth
Meat and Liquor, New Plymouth
Salt Restaurant, The Waterfront, New Plymouth
Stony River Boutique Hotel, Okato
The Orangery Restaurant, Quality Hotel Plymouth

Bistro Lago, Hilton Lake Taupo
Plateau Bar & Eatery
The Bistro
The Brantry Restaurant

Eatery 10 Restaurant, Martinborough
Pinocchio, Martinborough
The Grill at Solway Park, Masterton Tirohana Estate, Martinborough
Wharekauhau Lodge, Featherston

Carnegies, Fairlie
Stronechrubie Restaurant, Mt. Somers
The Panorama Room, The Hermitage, Aoraki Mt.

Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant, Dunedin
Captains Restaurant, Queenstown
Cardrona Hotel, Cardrona
Carrick Winery Restaurant, Bannockburn
Cucina, Oamaru
Ironic Café, Dunedin
Kobe Cuisine, Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown
Lombardi Restaurant, Hotel St. Moritz, Queenstown
MacKenzies Restaurant, Heritage Hotel, Queenstown
Millhouse Restaurant, Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown
Muskets and Moonshine, Queenstown
Northstar Restaurant, Oamaru
Observatory Restaurant, Millennium Hotel,
Olivers Restaurant, Clyde
Ombrellos Kitchen & Bar, Dunedin
Pitches Store, Ophir, Central Otago
Poppies Café & Restaurant, Twizel
Redcliff Restaurant & Bar, Te Anau
The Fat Duck, Te Anau
Roaring Megs Restaurant, Queenstown
True South Dining Room, The Rees Hotel,
Vault 21, Dunedin Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen, Wanaka

Emberz Restaurant, Ascot Park Hotel, Invercargill
Level One Restaurant, Kelvin Hotel, Invercargill Paddington Arms, Invercargill
The Foundry, Invercargill
The Whistling Frog, Owaka, Catlins

Matheson Café, Fox Glacier
Waterwheel Restaurant, Stations Inn, Hokitika

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