Kiwi chef returns to NZ for Welly icon, Floriditas

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Celebrated Melbourne-based Kiwi chef, Hayden McMillan, is making Wellington his new home, and bringing his culinary talents to one of the capital’s most beloved eateries, Floriditas, in an exciting new partnership set to further enhance Wellington’s vibrant dining scene.

The relationship between Hayden – most recently, the owner and head chef of highly acclaimed EastBrunswick eatery, Etta – and Floriditas, was born out of a Visa Wellington On a Plate chef collaboration in 2018, when he paired with the eatery for a four-night Etta takeover.

The owners of Etta and Floriditas have remained firm friends ever since, and it was due to that friendship and symbiotic approach to food, which drove Floriditas owners, Julie Clark and James Pedersen, to “put forward an audacious plan to partner with us” late last year.

After seven years working in the upper echelons of Melbourne’s culinary scene, Hayden and his wife, Dominique, who also managed Melbourne eateries, Cutler & Co. and Marion, are looking forward to settling in. “Our philosophies align very well. There is nothing broken at Floriditas, so we really want to go in and push it forward. We’ll bring a fresh perspective, whilst continuing what Julie and James have done for the last 15 years,” says McMillan.

Dominique, who will take up the role as Floriditas front-of-house, says she and Hayden now consider themselves caretakers of a Wellington culinary icon. “Wellington diners are really loyal, and we want to be able to be giving back to the local scene in 10-15 years, and really preserve Floriditas as a Wellington icon,” she says.

Dominique says the 2018 Visa Wellington On a Plate collaboration proved all parties were a great match.

“After we left Wellington, Hayden said, ‘I don’t think that’s the last time we’ll work with James and Julie’. I had the same feeling. Things were ticking along fine in Melbourne, we had no plans to move home, but we just had that gut instinct – and now here we are!” she says.

Julie says the partnership with Hayden and Dominique will give Floriditas another lease of life and the ability to evolve and propel itself into the future.

“I’m really excited about the knowledge and skill Hayden and Dom both bring. Hayden’s food has always excited me and I know I’m going to learn heaps. It’s about the fun and sparking of new ideas,” she says.

Hayden previously worked at some of Auckland’s top restaurants, including The French Café, Vinnies and Meredith’s, TriBeCa and Waiheke Island Yacht Club, as well as earning one hat as head chef at The Roving Marrow in Melbourne’s Astor Hotel.

RA Professional Development Roadshow

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Leadership Development Workshop

with In-House Mentoring Session

Hospitality businesses face a number of challenges to operate efficiently and achieve competitive advantage. One of the most important elements that contribute to team success is the leadership delivered in a business.

We’re travelling around the country to host full day Leadership Development Workshops near you. These workshops are focused on developing leadership skills in Managers (and Owners) of all levels. All attendees receive a one-on-one follow-up, one hour session in their business within the following week of completing the workshop.

About our presenter
Toni Jacka, Positive People

Toni’s background is as an HR generalist, with a strong focus on organisational development. She has her Graduate Diploma in Strategic HR Management and is a qualified NZQA workplace assessor. Toni has extensive experience in designing and facilitating successful Leadership Development programs. This has helped her develop an ability to support managers to build high performing teams and workplaces, understand hospitality workplace dynamics and introduce people initiatives that produce results.

What will attendees gain from this workshop?

  • Effective and appropriate communication skills for the restaurant environment 
  • Confidence in avoiding miscommunication
  • Appreciation on the importance of knowing each person’s personal motivators
  • Using appropriate leadership styles to best communicate and motivate each individual
  • Confidence in their ability to motivate their team
  • Skills to improve team engagement

What will be covered in this workshop?

Ensuring that leaders have the right skills and clear understanding of their role is essential for their success. This workshop helps Managers to understand the essentials of leadership and enables them to develop their skills to deliver productive outcomes.

The ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill in today’s world. Communication is a dynamic process and how managers communicate can positively or negatively affect workplace relationships and the performance of the team. This workshop covers the key communications principals and skills needed to get this right.

An often-asked question is “How do I get the best out of my team?” This workshop has been specially developed to help leaders understand this complex motivational question and assist them to develop practical tools which aid in motivating and engaging their teams and improve retention of staff.

Find an event near you:

Auckland food Facebook forum has turned sour, but “we’re going to fix that”

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COMMENT: There are so many interesting food stories that don’t find their way in the daylight. 

A friend and I sensed a growing disconnect between restaurants and customers which wasn’t helped by the fact that so much coverage of the hospitality scene is paid content. Businesses, most of them small, stumping up dollars to be included in ‘hottest’ lists, or to be ‘reviewed’ as a new opening, before they’ve even opened doors.

Anna King Shahab is the creator of Lazy Susan, an online food forum.
ALDEN WILLIAMS / STUFF Anna King Shahab is the creator of Lazy Susan, an online food forum.

We felt there were elements in this scenario that didn’t benefit hospo operator or customer. 

About 18-months ago we set up a Facebook group – Lazy Susan. It is now a popular, ever-growing platform for sharing knowledge on Auckland’s food. We’ve more recently founded Lazy Susan Travels to enable subject matter outside Auckland.

We’re proud of the busy, clever hive mind that Lazy Susan has become. The group is built on the principle of sharing positive experiences and knowledge; sharing the what, where and why of all things delicious and to discussing issues that perhaps aren’t getting airtime elsewhere.

A place where users can get first-hand recommendations and ideas from real people, and, we hope, where hospo operators and workers can liaise with customers.

We’ve allowed disappointments to be expressed, with valid reasons outlined – the world’s not all rosy, is it?

However a recent flurry of grumble posts – most notably one complaining about the size of a Prosecco pour in a popular restaurant (short story – it was a standard pour in a fairly large glass, a frenzy of comments followed) caused my co-admin and I to wonder: Why it is that negative posts garner so much attention? Should we judiciously weed out posts that look like they’ll detract from the overall aim of the hive? And honestly, what is it about the summer holidays that makes us lap up non-stories like greedy cats?

The pour of Prosecco that got a patron wound up on Lazy Susan.
FACEBOOK/SUPPLIEDThe pour of Prosecco that got a patron wound up on Lazy Susan.

Plenty of times an eating or drinking experience leaves a sour taste in the mouth for whatever reason, and goodness knows there are plenty of places of the internet where you can go and have a good grumble, and wait for a strained (or not) reply from the manager.

A chunk of the problem with this he said-she said thing is that collectively we seem to get thrills from outrage over minor issues – a pour of wine that looks small in a large glass, an above-averagely priced coffee, a no-bill-splitting policy.

There are so many bigger-picture issues in the food scene we should feel outraged about – working conditions and pay, and mental health statistics in the hospitality industry, recurring instances of mistreatment of livestock, or why it is that NZ consumers feel the pinch of high food prices while simultaneously our food producers feel the pinch of low profits – what the heck’s with that? 

While social media platforms can promote democratic discussion, comments can, and do, quickly get catty, intentionally or thanks to the myriad of ways in which one post of comment can be interpreted (perspective is everything).

It’s hard to keep things civil, people on all sides throw insults or feel insulted or both. A friend of mine, a food business operator, left the group – there are already enough places for hospo-bashing, he said.

I get it – the user reviews culture hasn’t been easy on operators – but we still aim to be as much a home for the hospo industry as for its users.

We’d love our little corner of Facebook to be a happy place. A home for those who love to be in the know about great food and drink, and for those providing it to be able to share insights and chat with the community. 

But, as I said, the world’s not all rosy. It’s important that broader and more serious issues and can be raised and opinions shared around these – but for this to happen a little topiary is going to have to be done.

We’re honing our terms and conditions, and weeding where necessary to ensure our hive mind doesn’t stray from its original purpose, which is to gently turn the lazy susan and share around the table genuine knowledge on what’s great about eating out, and cooking in Auckland. 

By Anna King Shahab

Instagram has changed how we eat and restaurants are rising to the challenge

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For many Kiwis, it seems a meal cannot begin without them first taking a photograph of the food on their cellphones and sharing it on social media.

Instagram and international travel have both changed how we eat, and the Restaurant Association of New Zealand says restaurants are rising to the challenge.

Times have changed from when people would head to restaurants based on reviews in the paper or a friend’s recommendations. These days, for some, it depends on how good the food looks on a social media post.

“Kiwi consumers are hungry to explore new flavours and restaurant concepts,” said Marisa Bidois, the association’s chief executive.

Some restaurateurs and chefs have changed the way they produce meals to make them more “instagrammable” with some going the extra mile to make their restaurant interiors smartphone-worthy as well.

Chef Luis Cabrera owns the new Besos Latinos Ceviche Bar on Halsey Street. Photo / Dean Purcell.
Chef Luis Cabrera owns the new Besos Latinos Ceviche Bar on Halsey Street. Photo / Dean Purcell.

At the newly opened Besos Latinos Ceviche Bar on Halsey St in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter, the furnishings and displays are sourced and made by Mexican rural communities in Michoacan, Jalisco, Puebla, Oaxaca and Guerrero.

Two interior designers from Taller Lu’um flew from Mexico for three weeks for the fit-out.

On Ponsonby Rd, the owners of Khu Khu have launched a new trendy vegan Thai restaurant, taking the once hippie cuisine to one that caters for upmarket vegetarians.

Across the bridge, plans are under way for Auckland’s first Burmese restaurant that serves traditional Burmese cuisine that looks good on Instagram.

Bidois said this was being driven by increased international travel along with influence from the diverse range of multimedia content.

Melissa Koh, a food blogger who goes by the name of Melicacy on Instagram, says restaurant meals these days don't start until pictures are taken on smart phones. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Melissa Koh, a food blogger who goes by the name of Melicacy on Instagram, says restaurant meals these days don’t start until pictures are taken on smart phones. Photo / Jason Oxenham

“Hospitality is a creative industry and restaurateurs are also looking to bring innovative flavours and global inspiration to their establishments and this is being reflected in the diverse range of eateries opening up around the country,” she said.

“We have certainly seen our membership diversify over the years.”

Bidois said migrants were also influencing the styles of cuisines being served at restaurants.

“Many restaurateurs are opening up establishments hero-ing the cuisines of their own culture,” she said.

“Latin American cuisines are certainly starting to feature including Peruvian and Colombian as well as premiumisation of some of our more established cuisines such as Chinese and Indian.”

Marisa Bidois, chief executive of the Restaurant Association says international travel and social media are changing Kiwi tastes. Photo / File.
Marisa Bidois, chief executive of the Restaurant Association says international travel and social media are changing Kiwi tastes. Photo / File.

Also trending, she said, was a focus on indigenous ingredients and flavours of the Pacific.

“We are also seeing . . . the opening of a number establishments with a focus on Māori cuisine over the last couple of years, using classic Māori cooking methods, such as earth ovens and steam cooking, to create dishes like paua porridge, hapuka tartare with horopito and boil-ups of Michelin-star quality,” she added.

Luis Cabrera, owner of Besos Latinos Ceviche Bar, also owns Besos Latinos that serves traditional Latin American dishes in the Elliot Stables.

Cabrera said his new restaurant-bar was taking a whole new approach to food presentation and set-up.

“Our menu is focused on seafood, and cuisine from Latin America mainly Peru, but we know how important it is to make our food look as good as it taste,” he said.

Cabrera claimed his restaurant to be the first ceviche bar in the country, and also the only restaurant to have a single-barrel ultra-premium tequila Patron labelled with its own name.

Foodie blogger Jasmine Yang says food pictures shared on social media cuts across languages and cultures. Photo / Supplied
Foodie blogger Jasmine Yang says food pictures shared on social media cuts across languages and cultures. Photo / Supplied

The restaurant interior is also being designed so people can take pictures and share on social media.

“Every glass, plate, lamp, chair, table, decoration have been hand made and are unique pieces made for us by folks in Mexican rural communities,” Cabrera.

Michael Khuwattanasenee, who owns vegan Thai restaurant Khu Khu, said he started the restaurant to capture the “new wave of vegetarianism and veganism”.

“Vegan food is no longer hippie food but is now in demand by people who are young professionals and trendy, and this is our target market,” Khuwattanasenee said.

The menu include corn fritter Thai red curry, eggplant and kumara green curry, Thai green papaya salad and crispy daikon.

Owners of the new vegan Thai restaurant Khu Khu says colours plays an important part of how its food is produced and plated. Photo / Lincoln Tan.
Owners of the new vegan Thai restaurant Khu Khu says colours plays an important part of how its food is produced and plated. Photo / Lincoln Tan.

It also serves a range of kombucha, with flavours ranging from lavender, ginger to blackcurrant.

To launch his restaurant, Khuwattanasenee invited social media influencers and food bloggers to sample his food.

“I designed my menu not just based on having the right nutritional balance, but also based on how colourful the ingredients are,” he said.

“Without big advertising budgets, I know how important it is to get our restaurant noticed when pictures of our food is shared on social media.”

Yangon chef May Hla Hla Yee, 63, is trialling some Burmese speciality dishes at her daughter’s cafe on the North Shore, and is planning to open the city’s first Burmese restaurant in 2020.

Dishes at her Constellation Cafe on Rosedale Road include Burmese green tea leaf salad, ginger salad, fish cakes and Burmese chicken curry on coconut rice.

Chef David Vuong Pham, left, and Chef May Hla Hla Yee present their Burmese cuisine at the Constellation Cafe in Rosedale. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Chef David Vuong Pham, left, and Chef May Hla Hla Yee present their Burmese cuisine at the Constellation Cafe in Rosedale. Photo / Jason Oxenham

A mother-daughter combination sees traditional Burmese meals being plated to look good on a smartphone camera.

The curry served at the restaurant is made from Yee’s mother’s secret recipe, a dish she has been cooking to feed survivors of Cyclone Nargis that slammed Burma in 2008.

“For about 10 years, I’ve been cooking this traditional Burmese curry to feed the people rebuilding their lives, and I feel honoured to share this special dish now with people in Auckland,” said Yee, who migrated to NZ last year to be with her daughter.

“I think we Burmese are also the only ones to eat green tea leaves, and it is special also for me to introduce our traditional salad made from fermented green tea leaves.”

The salad, prepared with fermented tea leaves, also includes crunchy beans, peas, garlic and sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Melissa Koh, a food photographer and blogger, said there was definitely a growing trend that restaurants were creating dishes that catered to Instagram.

Furnishing and decoration at Besos Latinos Ceviche Bar are all made by rural communities in Mexico. Photo / Supplied.
Furnishing and decoration at Besos Latinos Ceviche Bar are all made by rural communities in Mexico. Photo / Supplied.

“People no longer just eat with their mouths but also with their eyes. Usually, a meal cannot start before people take out their smartphones and take pictures,” said Koh, who uses the name Melicacy on Instagram.

“Dishes that uses bright colours and dishes that are unique or look exciting are usually what I look for.”

Lifestyle blogger Jasmine Yang shares food pictures both on her Flowerful Life page on Instagram and also on Chinese social media sites like WeChat.

Yang said more restaurateurs are also coming to the realisation that producing meals that look good for social media “cuts across cultures”.

“It’s no longer about just food reviews that is written in a single language, but pictures that are shared across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, Line, Kakaotalk,” Yang said.

AUT University Master of Gastronomy student Nishita Chandra said the changing tastes had a lot to do with the rapidly changing diversity within Auckland’s population.

“A lot of different ethnicities have made Auckland their home and are keen to share their culture and cuisine with other people,” she said.

“People are becoming more open to trying out new cuisines and varieties of food that give them exposure and help then understand various cultures through the cuisine.”

The rise of social media, she said, had also influenced people to accept new cultures and explore a more global palate – either for the experience or just “to show the world”.

By: Lincoln Tan New Zealand Herald

eVouch – Sponsored

It is common to hear that a picture is worth a thousand words. However, for Restaurant Association member eVouch, a picture is worth a thousand sales.

eVouch is a local company that aims to support restaurants to capitalise on the growing foodie scene in Kiwi social media. CEO Eugene Yao stated, “The power of social media marketing lies in its ability to have a constant presence and to remain at the forefront of customer’s minds.”

Their new app provides restaurants a platform in order to access a growing agency of local social media influencers. This boosts engagement higher than that of sponsored Instagram ads, but at a fraction of the cost.

For enquiries, visit the eVouch website CLICK HERE or contact

Our Highlights of 2019!

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It’s a wrap for 2019 and for a decade!

Another year and another decade is coming to end! We want to thank you for your valued membership and being a part of the Restaurant Association family. We’d love to share with you some of our success and what we’ve been up to this year.

  • We’ve welcomed over 450 new members to the Restaurant Association in 2019, with 2,300 members across the country.
  • To aid and support our growing membership base we’ve also grown our team to 20 people, with 16 located at the Auckland head office, 1 in Rotorua, 2 in Wellington and 1 in Christchurch.


  • The Association has been represented in the media over 1,000 times during the year – in local newspapers, radio, TV and through online media – representing a voice on matters of importance to the industry.
  • We actively advocated on the industry’s behalf on employment, immigration, food safety and more. Chief Executive, Marisa Bidois met with 12 Ministers, MP’s and officials in government to ensure the industry’s position was clear on the many issues facing the industry, through consultation with you, our members, who participated in over 20 surveys.
  • We made submissions for consultations on Employer Assisted Visa proposals, Vocational Education, Fair Pay Agreements, Migrant Exploitation and Wellington Alcohol Fees.
  • We represented the industry on over 15 national and regional steering and advisory groups and joined the Go with Tourism board.


  • We grew our key Association partnership relationships to over 20 and collaborated with over 100 Association partners and sponsors in 2019.
  • We introduced a new member savings programme with Maurice Trapp health insurance.
  • Our Restaurant Association gift vouchers and restaurant gift cards reached sales in excess of $1,600,000, with growth at 8% over last year, all of which directly benefited Association members.
  • We’ve been working on our Dinefind website, which will be relaunched early next year with a fresh new look and updates to improve user experience.
  • We’ve continued support of charity, DineAid, which raised over $150,000 in response to the Christchurch attacks in March and over the 2018 Christmas campaign.
  • Our MentorMe programme assisted over 60 members in 2019.

Our mission continues to be serving our members and being the bridge between good food and good business so that your hospitality business can become great. We’re passionate about our vibrant industry, which is full of interesting, talented and entrepreneurial people…people just like you. 

Our helpline team grew to four advisors and assisted over 3,600 queries from members who called for advice and support in 2019. The team have developed new resources, letters, guides and policies available free of charge to our members. Hot helpline topics this year have included, 90 day trial periods, performance, disciplinary processes, holiday closedowns and how to handle unexpected resignations.

We’ve hosted over 75 events – MeetMe’s, webinars, first aid courses and professional development seminars.

In 2020 we’ll be hitting the road and travelling the country to bring the new Leadership Development Workshop to you. This workshop is focused on developing leadership skills in managers (and owners) of all levels. All attendees will receive a one-on-one follow-up, one hour session in their business within the following week of completing the workshop. 

The assessment team has completed 40 commercial competency assessments for Chef apprentices working in industry in 2019. 2020 will also see the planned launch of our regional apprenticeship programme, starting in Northland.

We grew our New Zealand Hospitality Awards platform to 11, with 8 events taking place across the country in 2019 (Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, along with two new regions: Waikato and Taranaki) the awards give the industry time out to celebrate its success and acknowledge it’s achievements. 165 hopso professionals took home awards, with 3,800 nominations across the country!

With media interest around the winners, it gives local diners the opportunity to hear about the best local places to eat out as voted for by those in the know.

But just as importantly, it gives the hospitality community a much-needed opportunity to down tools, celebrate achievements of the industry and share a drink or two with their peers.

In 2020, along with 5 other awards, we’ll be running the bi-annual events, Rotorua Hospitality Awards and Manawatu Hospitality Awards and the launch of the Northland Hospitality Awards and will continue to support the Lewisham Awards in Auckland.

Food Hui 2019

Check out the action from #FoodHui2019!Food Hui will be back in 2020, hosted in Wellington on 19-20 October!Eat New Zealand

Posted by Restaurant Association of New Zealand on Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Food Hui

We partnered with Eat New Zealand to present the 2nd food and hospitality Food Hui. This two day annual gathering held in Auckland at Taste of Auckland this year brought together over 400 people. Marco Pierre White headlined as our international keynote speaker and over 50 local presenters, representing the best local leaders in food and hospitality, to share ideas, tools and stories, to educate and inspire! Check out the video above.

Auckland Golf Day

The Auckland Branch hosted their Hawaii 5-0 themed Golf Day on Thursday 28 February, 2019 at Akarana Golf Course. 144 players had a great day of fun, relaxation and some good networking! Enhanced by the offerings on each hole thanks to our associate members and partners.

Check out the 2020 Auckland Golf Day, sure to sell out so get in quick! 

We’re committed to assisting our member employers who are challenged to find people with the right skill set to enter our industry.  In partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, our Hospo Start programme introduces students to the basics of hospitality. They graduate with a great attitude, basic skills and a desire for a career in hospitality.

We ran 6 programmes in 2019 and trained 140 students, assisting them to find employment in our industry.

Maria Kaneri
Maria embraced every opportunity to learn and try new skills. Despite being in her sixties and much older than most of the students, she fitted in well and demonstrated how to be a team player. Her enthusiasm for hospitality was evident and after her interview at The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron she was hired immediately. They recognised her willingness to learn and positive attitude and decided to hire her despite her lack of hospitality experience.

Maria is loving her position and is receiving compliments daily from Yacht Squadron members. She is putting into practice all she learned from Hospo Start and more.
She is excited about her future and proud of achievements so far. Looking forward to The America’s Cup and the opportunities in front of her.

“Thanks so much, we have really enjoyed how much success your programme has brought us and all of the girls get frequent compliments from our members and guests”.

Mark Sorenson – Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

Our goal in 2020 is to grow Hospo Start with the aim of running the programme across the country.

Christchurch hosts ‘world-first’ hemp food week

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Hemp won’t get you high but it will make you hungry.

Christchurch is hosting Hemp Food Week, a week-long “world-first” celebration where nine venues and chefs will showcase different hemp dishes.

The event is the brainchild of sustainability entrepreneur, Guido Loeffler, who said hemp was the most useful plant known to humankind.

Gatherings' hemp and honey ice cream tart with fresh thyme.
SUPPLIEDGatherings’ hemp and honey ice cream tart with fresh thyme.

“It provides us with a highly nutritious food, the strongest natural fibre, amazing building materials, compostable plastics, and it can actually restore the health of the environment,” Loeffler said.

“When I started thinking of a way to promote hemp and the new Whakamana education institute on Manchester Street, I mentioned it to a few chefs who were immediately interested in doing something creative with it in the kitchen.”

Shaka Bros' The Whakamana Express with a hemp pattie, hemp oil aioli and hemp husk bun.
SUPPLIEDShaka Bros’ The Whakamana Express with a hemp pattie, hemp oil aioli and hemp husk bun.

Hemp seeds became legal to sell in food products in New Zealand last year. They come from the same cannabis plant as marijuana but do not get people “high’, and are densely packed with nutrients.

One of the venues involved in the week is Gatherings, debuting a hemp and honey ice cream tart with fresh thyme. 

Gatherings owner and chef Alex Davis said he had never experimented with hemp before but was interested in trying it due to the positive environmental impacts it could have. 

“My first thoughts were that this is going to be attached to cannabis, which I’m not about at all, but after a bit of research I discovered they’re two separate things and that hemp can provide a lot of benefits,” Davis said.

Gre3n Superfoods' hemp acai bowl with hemp protein, hemp seeds, house granola and fresh seasonal fruits.
SUPPLIEDGre3n Superfoods’ hemp acai bowl with hemp protein, hemp seeds, house granola and fresh seasonal fruits.

Davis said he used the milk from hemp seeds and butter made from hemp to form the dish. 

“It came out beautifully rich and creamy, which I was actually really surprised about,” he said. “I’ve trialled it with some customers and once I explained there was no THC (the key psychoactive constituent of cannabis) in the mix, they seemed to really enjoy it.”

Other dishes on show during the week include a hemp burger from Shaka Bros and a hemp acai bowl from Gre3n Superfoods. 

The week finishes at the Whakamana Cannabis Museum Sunday when guest speaker Cameron Simms – one of New Zealand’s first hemp-based chefs – will be talking hemp as a food, along with the other chefs who will discuss their dishes.

Will Ross from Greenroots Juicery at the Barefoot Eatery.
CHRIS SKELTON/STUFFWill Ross from Greenroots Juicery at the Barefoot Eatery.

Venues taking part in the event include:

Gatherings (hemp and honey ice cream tart with fresh thyme).

Shaka Bros (The Whakamana Express – hemp heart pattie, hemp oil aioli, hemp husk bun).

Grater Goods (creamy hemp seed dip with toasted sourdough and hemp oil).

Gre3n Superfoods (hemp acai bowl with hemp protein, hemp seeds, house granola and fresh seasonal fruits).

Vesuvio Vegan (eggplant and cannellini bean meatballs with hemp chimichurri).

Barefoot Eatery (hemp seed and nut loaf toasted and spread with house-made vegan butter, topped with avocado, house-made sauerkraut and sprinkled with hemp and black sesame seeds & hemp power smoothie with hemp protein and hemp hearts).

Bohemian Bakery (hemp seed loaf with hemp seeds, hemp protein and hemp oil).

Slickburger Bacon’s Sister (hemp pattie, vegan cheese, hemp hearts, vegan hemp aioli).


‘Extremely difficult’ to find hospitality workers in upper South Island

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Hospitality businesses in the top of the South Island are struggling to fill summer job vacancies, with some reporting not a single application from the typically abundant visitor workforce.

They are blaming confusion over work visa changes being introduced over the next 18 months, but the head of Tourism Industry Aotearoa said fewer young people were now visiting New Zealand.

Gary Warner, who bought a central Nelson cafe in March this year, said the regular influx of summer tourists was beginning to arrive, but not the seasonal workers.

“It’s been extremely difficult. We’ve put advertisements up on TradeMe and Seek and notices in all the local backpackers and invariably we’ve got no responses from any of those locations.”

Cafe owner Gary Warner and Callum Webb who is on a working holiday from the UK.

Cafe owner Gary Warner and Callum Webb who is on a working holiday from the UK. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Alexandra Unterberger co-owned the Alpine Lodge in the Nelson Lakes National Park, about an hour south of Nelson.

She said the pool of overseas workers they relied on had dried up almost overnight. She said the seasonal nature of the workforce was vital for the seasonal nature of the industry.

“Normally I would have all the positions filled, and there’s just nothing coming in.”

She believed it was linked to changes in work visas that will be in place by 2021.

The changes include the introduction of an employer-led visa application process. The current six visa categories are being replaced with one temporary work visa.

The new system prioritises New Zealand workers while ensuring temporary foreign workers are recruited to fill genuine regional and sector shortages.

Immigration New Zealand said the new work visa process had not yet been designed in detail.

Alpine Lodge co-owner Alexandra Unterberger said the pool of overseas workers has dried up.

Alpine Lodge co-owner Alexandra Unterberger said the pool of overseas workers has dried up. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Strategy manager Steve McGill said this would happen over the next 12 to 18 months, and that the department planned to work with employers and others on fine-tuning it.

Immigration New Zealand recently delivered 17 seminars in 16 towns and cities across New Zealand, to deliver as much information as possible directly to employers. Booklets explaining the changes as much as possible were distributed to the 2380 employers who attended.

Mr McGill said employer feedback was collected at these seminars, which helped the department to better understand current employer concerns.

“When further details are determined, we will communicate more information to employers, INZ staff and other interested stakeholders.

“We have committed to work with employers and stakeholder groups on the design and implementation of the work visa process,” Mr McGill said.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa head Chris Roberts said 4000 chefs, 1800 cafe and restaurants managers, and 700 hotel management staff have arrived in New Zealand in the past 12 months.

Mr Roberts said worker shortages noticed by some might be a regional anomaly in the top of the south where unemployment levels were among the country’s lowest.

But fewer younger people were applying to come to New Zealand on a working holiday.

“We are seeing significant declines from our traditional markets like the UK, Germany, France, the USA and Canada. Those young people are not coming in the same numbers, and it looks like they won’t be coming in the same numbers this summer,” Mr Roberts said.

Callum Webb recently arrived from the UK on a working holiday.

The 21-year-old has worked in the hospitality industry in Newcastle, and was now working as a barista in Nelson, and also on the reception desk of the hostel where he was staying.

He found the work visa process was straightforward, but he was not sure that was the same for everyone.

“I think it’s quite finely tuned for people like me, but when I’ve been chatting to other people about how they’re finding the visa (process), it’s been quite tough for them.

“There are quite a few countries now finding it very, very hard.”

Callum Webb has found the current work visa process to be straightforward.

Callum Webb has found the current work visa process to be straightforward. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Tourism operators RNZ spoke with in other regions were not seeing the same worker shortage.

Jane Thew – the HR manager for Chateau Tongariro, Mt Ruapehu and the Wairakei Resort in Taupō – said they were still getting applications for temporary roles, but there were shortages in the skilled workforce including roles for chef de partie, duty managers, and front office managers.

Ms Thew said they had good working relationships with nearby tourism training schools from where they sourced staff who they then trained and retained. They also used well established overseas connections to employ chefs.

Mr Roberts said a solution might lie in boosting the local workforce.

“The tourism industry has just received over $5 million out of the new international visitor levy, to work on a nationwide tourism workforce programme.

“We absolutely recognise the need to get more New Zealanders into tourism and hospitality jobs is essential.”


Auckland to host The Ocean Race

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The Ocean Race have confirmed the 2021-22 edition will have a stopover in Auckland, New Zealand. As the fully-crewed, round the world race approaches its 50th anniversary, it will be returning to New Zealand for the 12th time. All but one of those stops have been in Auckland.

“We consider Auckland to be the spiritual home of the race, with a legacy built on the legends of such iconic New Zealand sailors and race winners as Sir Peter Blake and Grant Dalton, and now leading into a younger generation with Peter Burling, Blair Tuke and Bianca Cook,” said Richard Brisius, Race Chairman of The Ocean Race.

“Every time we come here, we see the Kiwi fans passionately celebrating the incredible efforts the world’s best sailors undertake to realize their dreams and ambitions in The Ocean Race, and in turn the crew members appreciate the warm welcome and hospitality they receive here.”

The Auckland stopover comes ahead of one of the most difficult legs of the event, as the fleet will race out of the protected waters of the Hauraki Gulf and dive into the southern latitudes toward the famed Cape Horn.

Kiwi sailors have long written the stories of their careers in this remote part of the world and this time will be no different. Bianca Cook, who competed in the last edition of The Ocean Race on board Turn the Tide on Plastic, is leading a campaign in the VO65 class for the 2021-22 race.

The 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race will feature two classes of boats – the innovative, foiling, IMOCA 60 class, along with the one-design VO65 boats, which produced the close and compelling competition of the last race.

“It’s fantastic to have confirmation that The Ocean Race will be coming back to Auckland,” Cook said. “It’s great news for our campaign to have certainty that we will be coming ‘home’ for a stopover during the race.”

Cook has purchased the VO65 race boat she competed on in the last race and transferred it to New Zealand where it is being refurbished and readied for her newly established team’s race around the world.

“It’s been an exciting few months and our campaign is really beginning to take shape now,” she added. “With the confirmation the race is coming to Auckland, it’s all systems go for us and we’re working towards getting the boat in the water so we can start our training around New Zealand soon.”

Burgeoning Kiwi legends Peter Burling and Blair Tuke competed in the last edition of the race on separate teams. Fresh off an America’s Cup win in Bermuda with Emirates Team New Zealand, the pair became rivals for the first time, with each looking to become the first sailor in history to claim the ‘triple crown’ with wins in the Olympics, America’s Cup and The Ocean Race.

But both would have to settle for a podium position with their respective teams, leaving for unfinished business with The Ocean Race. Now juggling renewed America’s Cup commitments with a campaign to defend their gold medal in the 49er class at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Burling and Tuke expressed enthusiasm about Auckland again hosting The Ocean Race in 2021-22.

“For both Blair and myself, participating in the last edition of The Ocean Race was a life-changing experience,” Burling said.

“Racing offshore improved us as sailors and allowed us to experience the natural world in a way we hadn’t before. It’s fantastic to hear The Ocean Race will be returning to Auckland for the next edition, following on from the America’s Cup. Although the Cup and the Olympics are our immediate priorities, both Blair and I would love to be involved in the race again.”

The Ocean Race stopover in 2021-22 will be located along the Viaduct Basin with the exact location and facilities to be defined following the America’s Cup in 2021.

“Investment by Auckland Council through Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development helps shine the spotlight on our region’s ability to host events of this magnitude,” shared Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. “The last time we hosted an Ocean Race stopover we had nearly 500,000 visitors to the village hub, creating a huge sense of vibrancy.

“The $6 billion local and central government investment in the transformation of Auckland’s city center, and the construction of a new waterfront precinct for the 36th America’s Cup, will create a lasting legacy for Auckland and help us fulfill our role as New Zealand’s international city. This visit will complete an incredible year of international events for Auckland.”

The 14th edition of The Ocean Race is scheduled to start from its home port in Alicante, Spain in Q4 of 2021 and finish in Genoa, Italy in June of 2022. The full Race Route will be determined in 2019. Auckland, New Zealand joins Cape Town, South Africa; Itajaí, Brazil; Aarhus, Denmark; and The Hague in The Netherlands as confirmed Host Cities, along with Cabo Verde, which will be the first West African stop in the history of the Race.

Event details – Route – Teams – Facebook

The Ocean Race (formerly The Volvo Ocean Race), scheduled to start in 2021, will be raced in two classes of boats: the high-performance, foiling, IMOCA 60 class and the one-design VO65 class which has been used for the last two editions of the race. Entries in the IMOCA 60 class will compete for The Ocean Race trophy, while those racing the VO65s will chase the Ocean Challenge Trophy.

While we wait for the full race route, organizers had previously revealed there would be up to nine stopover ports. Here’s what has been confirmed so far:

• Alicante, Spain: This historic Mediterranean port will host the start for the fifth consecutive edition in the autumn of 2021.

• Aarhus, Denmark: The course comes to the east coast of the Jutland peninsula during the spring of 2022, following a popular ‘Fly-By’ of the city during the final leg of the 2017-18 edition of the Race. Details.

• The Hague, Netherlands: This city along the North Sea coast will welcome the race for a third consecutive time, first coming as a ‘pitstop’ on the final leg of the 2014-15 edition and as the final finish port for the 2017-18 race. Details.

• Cabo Verde: More accustomed to having offshore teams sail by, or stop for repair, this archipelago of ten volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean will become just the second African venue the race has ever visited and the first West African nation to host the event. Details.

• Genoa, Italy: As the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, this first-time race host is Italy’s largest sea port yet remains full of grandeur as the gateway to the Riviera while offering weighty architectural heritage. Details.

• Itajaí, Brazil: To the south of Rio de Janeiro, Itajaí was founded in the mid-19th century by German and Italian colonists, and is now the commercial centre and Atlantic port for an agricultural region drained by the Itajaí River and its tributaries. Details.

• Cape Town, South Africa: Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town, as the oldest urban area in South Africa, was developed by the United East India Company (VOC) as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Located at latitude 33.55° S, it’s approximately the same as Sydney and Buenos Aires and equivalent to Casablanca and Los Angeles in the northern hemisphere. Details.

• Auckland, New Zealand: European, Polynesian, Asian, and strong Maori heritages give Auckland its distinctive culture. Located in the North Island of New Zealand, it is the most populous urban area in the country with an urban population of around 1,570,100. Details.

Announced Entries:
• IMOCA – Team Malizia (GER)- Boris Herrmann (GER)
• VO65 – Racing For The Planet (POR)
• IMOCA – Paul Meilhat (FRA)
• IMOCA – 11th Hour Racing (USA) – Charlie Enright & Mark Towill (USA)

Source: The Ocean Race


Food fraud: when our food isn’t what it claims to be

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Food producers are forever playing catch-up with food fraudsters – and the problem is growing, US expert Shaun Kennedy tells Andrea Fox.

The world’s food criminals are endlessly inventive – when new testing foiled them adding melamine to dairy product to boost protein levels, they turned to hydrolysed leather.

When an overseas fruit crop is poor, there’s a good chance the fruit concentrate a business needs to make juice will be fraudulently adulterated.

And for those in the baking business, your “pure” vanilla oil could have been diluted to something else at any of several points on its journey from Madagascar.

Welcome to the world of food fraud.

Shaun Kennedy. Photo: supplied
Shaun Kennedy. Photo: supplied

Food producers are forever playing catch-up with food fraudsters and the problem is growing, says visiting US food agriculture risk management expert Shaun Kennedy.

That is why it is time they started looking beyond security at their own commercial facility to the dangers lurking in their supply chain, he says.

“The first part of the solution is to go beyond the traditional mindset of food safety and food quality.

“Don’t over-concern yourself with your facility. Think about the entire supply chain, how to manage that, and what is your visibility of that supply chain,” says the director of the US Food System Institute and adjunct associate professor of food systems at the University of Minnesota.

Food fraud is estimated to cost the global food industry $US49 billion ($NZ75 billion) a year.

Kennedy and Silicon Valley sociologist Dr Marc Smith, of the Social Media Research Foundation, are visiting New Zealand at the invitation of the Asia Pacific Centre for Food Integrity.

They are meeting food and primary industry stakeholders, including government officials, food and wine producers, and visiting Fonterra’s research centre in Palmerston North.

Kennedy, a former director for the US National Centre for Food Protection and Defence, and Homeland Security Centre of Excellence, says to reduce vulnerability to food fraud and reputational damage, food producers need to look “upstream” of their chosen suppliers and what requirements are put on suppliers.

They need to think about outside events that might lead to food fraud, and they need to broaden their testing regimes.

“Take something as simple as fruit juice. The traditional test for this is the Brix test, the sugar content test. But it doesn’t tell you about the juice. It tells you if you have the right sugar content.

“We need firms to take better advantage of other sorts of information. For example, the harvest of the fruit you are making that juice from. Is it lower than normal that year? In that case, there might be a shortage of the fruit concentrate and maybe you should start adding additional tests.”

Extra testing means extra cost, but companies do not resist the idea, Kennedy says.

“They’re already losing money to fraud. If they identify the fraud before they shift the product [to market], they have to dump it and they lose money. If they don’t detect it until it gets to the marketplace, they lose money recalling the product and they have reputational loss and market-value loss from having been duped.

“With the prospect of losing both the top line and the bottom line, they want to invest.”

Kennedy says, put simply, food fraud is making more money from a food than the food warrants by altering it in some way. Globally, it is estimated about 10% of food on retail shelves has been adulterated for profit by some means, he says.

New Zealand, which he tells his students at Minnesota University has the safest food-safety system in the world, followed by Australia, is not immune from food fraud, as shown by cases of phoney manuka honey, counterfeit packing in China of kiwifruit claiming to be from New Zealand, and milk powder falsely packaged and sold as Fonterra product. Lamb has been falsely labelled as from New Zealand. At home, there’s been fake free-range eggs and faux organic produce.

Your "pure'' vanilla oil could have been diluted to something else at any of several points on...

Your “pure” vanilla oil could have been diluted to something else at any of several points on its journey from Madagascar. Photo: Getty ImagesNor is New Zealand’s fraud risk mostly confined to its exports. Imported products for finished goods can be casualties. Kennedy offers vanilla oil as an example.

“You know it was supposedly harvested in Madagascar. But it may have gone through three, five even 10 different transit points where it was modified, distilled, purified.

“By the time the firm gets its vanilla oil to bake cookies, you have no idea how much of that product is true vanilla.

“Their supplier may think they are selling the firm pure vanilla because they are a victim of fraud too, maybe three steps back.”

Food fraud is getting worse because supply chains are getting longer and more complicated, says Kennedy.

“There are more opportunities in the supply chains for fraud. We are also becoming more aware of it because firms are more concerned about the public health consequences. They’re being more pro-active, which means they are finding more fraud.”

Kennedy recently attended the International Association for Food Protection annual conference in Kentucky.

“The general push from the group was to help food companies look at the entirety of the supply chain, to look outside to take control. Don’t be so confident in the diagnostic strategies you think are going to protect you.”

He cited tests for adulteration of dairy products. Criminals have found a way around just about every test devised by companies, including for melamine addition.

New Zealand’s Fonterra was caught up in China’s big melamine poisoning scandal in 2008, in which children died or were made seriously ill by the addition in the supply chain of the industrial product to milk. Fonterra had a shareholding in the company at the centre of the incident, SanLu.

After dairy companies started comprehensive testing for melamine in milk, criminals wanting to lift protein readings realised hydrolysed leather proteins did not show up under infrared spectroscopy testing, Kennedy says.

“Most of our diagnostic tests for fraud are targeted. You know what you are looking for and you’re trying to find it. The big scientific consensus out of the conference was that we had better spend a lot more time looking at non-targeted methods … as opposed to trying to find out is that thing [criminals] use in there?”

Kennedy says another discussion topic during his visit will be achieving sustainable food production.

“We have to meld traditional food systems with a more ecosystem health agenda, because the way we grow crops and animals now, there simply isn’t enough water or landmass on the planet for the populations of 2050. With our current systems, we have opportunities to continue to improve food safety and minimise chances for fraud, but we also have the potential to minimise loss of food… generally, somewhere between 40 to 50% of food produced at farm level never makes it to a consumer mouth or table because of wastage.

“It’s a combination of lack of proper cool chains in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, not moderating serving sizes in the developed world, and in the developing world, it’s not having the infrastructure to get animals to healthy slaughter.

“So we have a lot of tightening up with current systems that will get us a fair part of the way to sustaining ourselves. But even with this tightening, we will have to change the game and come up with strategies that will require less water and less land for crops and animal feed.”

He expects the issue of genetic modification to arise in meetings down under. Brazil, the US and Australia have given the green light for genetically modified cropping but New Zealand and Europe have banned it.

“Because we don’t have universal approval to farm GM crops, we have to look at how we can use genetic approaches to improve traditional food systems,” he said.

‘Seacuterie’ is the food trend to try in 2020

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Charcuterie is so 2019.

We all love a good charcuterie board, but according to a new report from Waitrose, next year will see the rise of ‘seacuterie’ instead – using seafood instead of the traditional meat.

Waitrose’s latest Food and Drink Report predicts a surge in popularity for this Australian-originated trend, which involves pickling, fermenting, smoking and/or ageing seafood. With dishes like octopus salami, shellfish sausages or swordfish ham available, it’s a new take on a beloved classic. In 2020, Waitrose predicts more UK chefs will be inspired to experiment with the trend.

When it comes to home cooking, Middle Eastern cuisine is tipped to be the big trend next year as the report cites rising sales of spices such as sumac, baharat and zaatar.

“It’s no surprise Middle Eastern cuisine is hitting the mainstream. Already established with foodies, it offers both spice and sweetness,” says Zoe Simons, Senior Innovation Development Chef at Waitrose & Partners.

Za'atar in spoon.
Sales of Middle Eastern spices are up. ANNICK VANDERSCHELDEN PHOTOGRAPHY

And while seacuterie is in the spotlight, Waitrose also predicts the number of ‘flexitarians’ in the UK will continue to rise. According to the report, a third of Brits are eating less meat and fish than they were two years ago, and 32% are planning to reduce their meat consumption even further over the next two years. When consumers are buying meat or fish, over a quarter (26%) of respondents say they plan to choose better quality offerings.

Our drinking habits are also changing, with more people focusing on flavour first and alcohol content second – partly due to a reprioritisation of health and partly due to the launch of new non alcoholic-mixers from brands such as Fever Tree. As a result, lower-alcohol drinks have also gotten more traction with consumers this year.

Otago’s finest – Whitestone Cheese Affineur Academy

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Now, here’s a recipe for success.

Mix the innovation of Otago Polytechnic’s EduBits micro-credentials with the expertise of award-winning Oamaru company Whitestone Cheese.

Add the desire of an employer to upskill staff.

The result: a New World delicatessen crew raring to pass on their new-found cheese knowledge to customers.

A couple of weeks ago, deli staff members at New World’s Long Bay supermarket on Auckland’s North Shore were among the first in-work learners to graduate from the Whitestone Cheese Co. Affineur Academy.

An EduBits-based online micro-learning and assessment experience aimed at upskilling hospitality workers and cheese enthusiasts, the Affineur Academy is the result of extensive collaboration between Otago Polytechnic and Whitestone.

Otago Polytechnic’s is New Zealand’s leading provider of accessible work-based skills assessments via its ever-growing and varied suite of EduBits. “Basic Affineur Skills” is one of 120 micro-credentials.

The first in a suite of cheese-related EduBits to be rolled out, “Basic Affineur Skills” provides a rich introduction to cheese, covering cheese-related history, natural processes, facts, flavour matchings, handling techniques and ideas, and includes exclusive access to a video tutorial by celebrated New Zealand chef Josh Emett on how to design and prepare the perfect cheese board.

Having achieved the Basic Affineur Skills EduBit, the New World Long Bay deli staff members are now able to share their cheese knowledge and handling skills with customers and clients.

New World Long Bay supermarket co-owner Marcus Te Brake says this is of great value to not only his staff but to his business as a whole.

“There is value in my deli staff being able to converse with customers on the subject of cheese. It presents upselling opportunities. As a business owner, this additional knowledge provides a marketplace edge. It contributes to the overall ‘customer experience’ and adds credibility to our fresh foods offerings.

“It has also resulted in an increase in general engagement from the respective team members. They are definitely more confident.”

Marcus says EduBits’ “bite-sized” method of professional development enables employees to upskill while in-work, which make them stand out from other professional development options.

“They are highly approachable.”

Whitestone Cheese Managing Director Simon Berry, who took the idea for the Affineur Academy to Otago Polytechnic cookery senior lecturer Chris Smith after “spotting a gap in the market”, says some of his own staff are about to graduate with the Basic Affineur Skills EduBit.

“This is about walking the talk. It’s a matter of credibility.

“For example, Whitestone’s National Sales & Trade Marketing Manager, Franco Sessa, has just been awarded his Basic Affineur Skills EduBit,” Simon says.

“Franco now has a digital credential proving this knowledge. In fact, it’s part of his email signature. This is powerful messaging for Whitestone, both as a brand and as an employer.

“We are developing the market so people who handle cheese have a greater understanding – they can go on to provide consumers, in both home and restaurant environments, a greater cheese experience.”

Chris Smith says the Affineur Academy EduBit is empowering at both an individual and industry level.

“Being a chef, I guess one of the really curious things about making a cheese board is nobody really knows what to do. We just kind of cut up a few cheeses, put them on a plate with a selection of nuts and crackers and whatever else. It’s always pretty basic.

“We’re trying to do is raise the profile and knowledge around cheese, which thus enhances others’ experience,” Chris explains.

“In short, it’s about getting the people who handle cheese – for example, deli staff or chefs – to know more about the product and what to match it with, and to relay that knowledge to the customer.”

Read more about the Basic Affineur Skills EduBit, which is recognised as equivalent to 5 Credits on the NZQF at Level 4 and has been awarded by Otago Polytechnic, an NZQA-accredited Category One provider.

Read more about EduBits, New Zealand’s premier micro-credentialing service.

Felix Wellington Hospitality Awards acknowledge excellence in the region!

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Monique Fiso’s Hiakai picks up three awards while Soul Shack Hot Chicken takes out People’s Choice

The Wellington hospitality industry acknowledged the outstanding abilities of its own with the announcement of the winners at the Felix Wellington Hospitality Awards ceremony held last night.

Presented by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand and lead partners Lexis Comply Hub, the awards acknowledge the outstanding hospitality professionals, all of whom are making a positive impact on the local café and dining scene.

Ground breaking chef Monique Fiso known for pushing the boundaries of Māori cuisine, picks up three awards for her new restaurant Hiakai.

Fiso also wins in the outstanding chef category while Hiakai picks up the outstanding restaurant award. Recognition also goes to Elton Song in the emerging chef category.

Souls Shack Hot Chicken picked up the People’s Choice Award for their popular Nashville style friend chicken.

Great service did not go unrecognised with Jessica Wood of popular wine bar Noble Rot picking up the award for emerging front of house professional while Ortega Fish Shack and Bar picked up the award for outstanding front of house team.

Josh Pointed, also of Noble Rot collected the award for outstanding hospitality professional.

Great cafes are not lacking in the region with Prefab Eatery winning the award for outstanding café and Tait Burge of Swimsuit recognised as the region’s outstanding barista.

Those looking for a place to get a great drink also won’t be disappointed with the region’s top notch bars recognised.

Matt Robers of Bristow Poquito bar takes out the award for outstanding bartender while Crumpet Bar wins outstanding cocktail experience.
Outstanding new establishment went to Cuba St’s Highwater Eatery.

CEO Marisa Bidois says, “Wellington has a vibrant and world leading hospitality scene which deserves to be recognised. Our goal is to recognise those providing an exceptional experience to Wellingtonians and connect them to one another and the local dining community.”

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony held at the Embassy Theatre on Sunday 27th October 2019.

The Wellington Hospitality Awards Winners 2019

L’affare Outstanding Barista:
Tait Burge, Swimsuit

Chivas Regal Outstanding Bartender:
Max Roberts Bristow, Poquito Bar

Antipodes Emerging Front of House:
Jessica Wood, Noble Rot Wine Bar

Helping Hands Outstanding Front of House Team:
Ortega Fish Shack & Bar

Moet Hennessy Outstanding Maitre d:
Sophie Garnham, Monsoon Poon

Le Cordon Bleu Emerging Chef:
Elton Song, Hiakai

Gilmours Outstanding Chef:
Monique Fiso, Hiakai

Southern Hospitality Outstanding Café:
Prefab Eatery

Black Dog Brewery Outstanding Beer Experience:
Fortune Favours

Negociants Outstanding Wine Experience:
Noble Rot Wine Bar

Monin NZ Outstanding Cocktail Experience:
Crumpet Bar

Service Foods Outstanding Casual Dining/Street Food Experience:
A Taste of Home

OneMusic Outstanding Ambience & Design:
Night Flower

Nova Energy Outstanding Suburban/Regional Experience:
Salty Pidgin

BCE Catering Equipment Outstanding New Establishment:
Highwater Eatery

Champagne Laurent-Perrier Outstanding Restaurant:

The Recruitment Network Outstanding Caterer:
Ruth Pretty Catering

Harbourside Function Venue Outstanding Sales Rep:
Jamie Andrew Lawton, Hop and Vine

Crombie Lockwood Insurance Brokers Outstanding Supplier:
Moore Wilson’s

Villa Maria Outstanding Hospitality Professional:
Josh Pointon, Noble Rot Wine Bar

Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding People’s Choice:
Soul Shack Hot Chicken