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Who has made the cut? Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018

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After assessing almost 70 entries from leading chefs around the country, our expert panel have chosen the 12 finalists for the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018.

Mat McLean of Palate Paul Limacher of Chameleon

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 Geoff Scott and 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 Food Service, 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.

Co-head judges Catherine Bell and Geoff Scott will visit all finalist restaurants during May. Both experts bring a wealth of experience in judging national food competitions and they look 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.

Above photos from left: Mat McLean of Palate and his dish, Paul Limacher of Chameleon and his dish

Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018

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,
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,
Mat McLean, Head Chef

Silver Fern Farms lamb cutlets, lamb shank moussaka ravioli, eggplant puree, black garlic, minted hollandaise

Victoria Street Bistro,
Andrew Clarke, Chef de Cuisine

Pecan Smoked Silver Fern beef cheek, crispy sweetbreads, tendon, sweetcorn, cress and pickles

Mills Reef Winery,
Anthony Lawler, Head Chef

Silver Fern Farms venison strip-loin, textures of beets, horseradish yoghurt, herbed goats curd

Amayjen – The Restaurant,
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,
William Hobby, Head Chef

Silver Fern Farms lamb, carrot puree, black garlic, citrus and jus

Noble Rot Wine Bar,
Punit D’Souza, Head Chef

Silver Fern Farms venison Denver leg, osso bucco, parsnip, pear, vanilla onions, preserved stone fruit, confit carrot

Aaron Ballantyne, Head Chef

Silver Fern Farms venison, chestnut polenta, caramelised celeriac, fig & wild mushroom tapenade

Olivers Victoria Store,
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

180 degrees at the
, 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


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