Hospitality Awards

Oamaru’s Cucina takes the lead: Dominating nominations in Otago’s Top Dining Spots

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The finalists have been announced in the Otago Hospitality awards and represent the best dining establishments in the region as voted by the hospitality industry.

Italian / Latin fusion restaurant Cucina, located in the heart of Oamaru, secures the lead with an impressive five nominations including Outstanding Restaurant and Outstanding Chef for Pablo Tacchini.

Cucina prioritises fresh, locally-sourced produce to ensure exceptional quality. The journey of Yanina & Pablo Tacchini from a holiday visit to a deep-rooted connection with Oamaru led to the creation of Cucina. Drawing inspiration from their South American heritage and a blend of Italian and Spanish ancestry, Cucina presents a unique fusion of flavours.

The establishment also picks up nominations for Outstanding Bartender for Agustin Vijande, Outstanding Front of House and Ambience & Design

In the Outstanding Chef category, Tacchini is joined by Sam Sinclair of Heritage Coffee; Logan Wilson of No.7 Balmac and Hannes Bareiter of Tītī.

Also securing an admirable number of nominations, live music venue Moons collects a total of three nominations. Kezia Mowat earns recognition for Emerging Chef, while the team is a finalist in the Front of House category. The establishment also receives a nomination for Outstanding Ambience and Design.

The region’s best casual / street food spots are recognised with Chili Dhaba, Chong’s Restaurant Dunedin, Citizens and Liam’s Hungarian Langos all nominated in the category of Outstanding Street Food / Casual Dining.

Those looking for the region’s best cocktail should check out Cucina, Pequeño Lounge Bar, The Press Club Dunedin and Woof where Agustin Vijande, Jesse Bishop, Griffin Pillar and

Josh Thomas all receive nominations in the category of Outstanding Bartender.

The region is renowned for its exceptional fine wines, attracting wine enthusiasts from around the world. This year, the spotlight shines on four distinguished wineries – Dunstan Road Winery, Monte Christo, Mt Difficulty and Terra Sancta that have set a new standard in the coveted category of Outstanding Winery.

“I am continually impressed by the unique qualities that set this region apart. Otago’s hospitality scene is characterised by its vibrant creativity, dedication to excellence, and the seamless integration of local culture and exceptional cuisine.

“It is crucial that we take the time to pause and celebrate our successes, recognising the hard work and passion that our peers pour into their craft. These awards are a testament to the remarkable talent and innovation that make Otago a standout destination, and they provide an opportunity for us to honour the individuals and establishments that elevate our region’s hospitality industry.”

RA CEO Marisa Bidois

The Otago community is also able to vote for its favourite establishment in the Mediaworks People’s Choice Award category.

Voting is open until Sunday 14th July and the winners will be revealed on 28th July.

Tickets to the event are on sale now, to purchase or for more information regarding the awards please visit https://hospitalityawards.co.nz/Otago.

Otago Hospitality Awards 2024 Finalists

Alliance Outstanding Restaurant

– Cucina

– Moiety

– The Press Club Dunedin

– Tītī

Outstanding Street Food / Casual Dining

– Chili Dhaba

– Chong’s Restaurant Dunedin

– Citizens

– Liam’s Hungarian Langos

Anchor Food Professionals Outstanding Chef

– Pablo Tacchini, Cucina

– Sam Sinclair, Heritage Coffee

– Logan Wilson, No.7 Balmac

– Hannes Bareiter, Tītī

Campari Outstanding Bartender

– Agustin Vijande, Cucina

– Jesse Bishop, Pequeño Lounge Bar

– Griffin Pillar, The Press Club Dunedin

– Josh Thomas, Woof!

Outstanding Winery

– Dunstan Road Winery

– Monte Christo

– Mt Difficulty

– Terra Sancta

OneMusic Outstanding Ambience & Design

– Cucina

– Moons

– Pequeño Lounge Bar

– Woof!

Silver Fern Farms Emerging Chef

– Jasmine Lee, Heritage Coffee

– Kezia Mowat, Moons

– Michael Hanaran, Precinct Cafe

Vault21 Outstanding FOH

– Cucina

– Del Mar

– Moiety

– Moons

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