Immigration NZ plans to raise cost of work visa to stem $43m deficit

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Immigration New Zealand’s plan to more than double the cost of work visas to help close a growing $43 million deficit has employers worried.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s consultation on a plan to stem its deficit closed on Sunday.

Hospitality industry organisations opposed the proposed changes in their submissions supplied to RNZ, and expressed concern over the government department’s ability to manage costs effectively.

Hospitality NZ’s submission said the industry needed 10,000 more restaurant and cafe staff over the next two years and there were not enough New Zealanders with necessary skills to take up the roles.

It said the ministry’s plan to increase work visa fees by 54 percent could deter migrant workers from coming to New Zealand.

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said almost all of its 2000 members opposed the increase.


“Most believe that this would intensify and increase the pressure on an already challenging work recruitment market for our industry. The majority of our members as well believe that an increase in fees would act as a deterrent for prospective migrant workers coming to New Zealand.”


An unprecedented shortfall

The plan to increase visa fees comes as Immigration NZ’s accounts show an unprecedented deficit of $43m.

Immigration NZ is a mostly user-pays system, but lost $20m from work visas alone last year, suggesting the price paid for them no longer covered the cost of processing them.

In a Cabinet paper, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said an increase in migrant trafficking and exploitation was to blame for increasing visa processing costs. Checks were becoming more rigourous, therefore taking longer.

Immigration NZ’s memorandum account was set for the $43m deficit by the end of the 2017 financial year.

That was despite investing $140m in technology to move visa processing online.

Immigration NZ deputy chief executive Greg Patchell said without the technology investment, its accounts would have been further in the red and the proposed increase on visas would be higher.

“The changes are actually making it more efficient to process visas, however the risk situation changes, therefore other things come on board at the same time.”

Mr Patchell said the increase in visa pricing would not necessarily reduce processing times.

Under the changes, work visas would cost $580 each, up from $370. Along with other changes, such as increasing the cost for employers to gain an accreditation from Immigration by 20 percent, that would balance Immigration NZ’s account within three years.

Ministry spokesperson Ruth Isaac said the increased prices would remain low on an international scale.

We’re generally on par at the moment with Canada, lower than the UK and Australia. Even with these increases we’re going to remain competitive.”

Parliament will vote next month on whether to spread out the changes over three or five years. Visa fees were typically reviewed every three years.

By Madison Reidy, RNZ

2018 Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards finalists announced

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hawke's bay hospitality awards

The finalists for the 2018 Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards have been announced, with up and coming establishments and familiar faces vying for top spots.

Presented by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, the Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards recognise the outstanding hospitality professionals all making a positive impact on the local hospitality scene. A large number of nominations were received from the industry across 15 categories, recognising those who work hard to achieve excellence in hospitality.


Marisa Bidois, CEO Restaurant Association of NZ says

“At the Restaurant Association we think it’s important to celebrate one another in the hospitality industry. Our work is physical and demanding and there are limited opportunities to come together to support each other. The Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards represent the occasion to do just that – celebrate the hard work and success of the hospitality industry within the Hawke’s Bay region.”


Final Voting via the website is now open to the industry, closing at 5.00pm on Sunday, 29 July 2018.

The public can also have their say and vote for their favourite establishment via the Hawke’s Bay Today People’s Choice Award. This will be awarded to an establishment that excels in customer service, consistency in food preparation and delivery, welcoming ambience and style, attention to detail and is always willing to go that extra mile. Online voting is also via the website for both industry and the public.

The winners will be announced at the awards evening, held at the MTG Hawke’s Bay on Monday, 6 August. Guests will then be transported to Shed 2 and enjoy a ‘Mexican Fiesta’ themed evening of delicious tapas, selection of local beverage offerings and entertainment by DJ Hurricane.

Tickets to the event are on sale now, to purchase or for more information regarding the awards please visit Stay connected with key updates and announcements on our Facebook page @hawkesbayhospitalityawards and Instagram @hbhospoawards.

2018 Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards Finalists

Meadow Fresh Outstanding Barista of the Year
Aydan Apiata, Mister D Dining
Benjamin Fernandez, Georgia on Tennyson
Ryan Huthnance, Crazy Good Coffee

Bidfood Hawke’s Bay Outstanding Café of the Year
Adoro Ahuriri Café

Nova Energy Outstanding Coffee Establishment of the Year
Georgia on Tennyson
Hawthorne Coffee Roasters

Simply Squeezed Outstanding Bartender of the Year
Claudia Hintz, Loading Ramp
Dave Morris, Funbuns
Jonathan Lopez, Matisse Wine Bar

Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Bar of the Year
Loading Ramp
Monica Loves
Matisse Wine Bar

Unison Fibre Outstanding Local of the Year
Common Room
Rose & Shamrock
Westshore Beach Inn

GrabOne Outstanding Front of House Team of the Year
JARKs Cityside Restaurant & Bar
Loading Ramp

EIT Emerging Chef of the Year
Auden Smith, Gin Trap
Dom Michau, Diva Bar & Bistro
Dylan Olsen, Clearview Estate Winery

Service Foods Outstanding Chef of the Year
Ashley Jones, Elephant Hill
Casey MacDonald, Terrôir Restaurant, Craggy Range
Hayden Esau, Matisse Wine Bar

Shed 2 Outstanding Sales Rep of the Year
Bryce Weir, Bidfood Hawke’s Bay
David Thompson, Gourmeats
Shaye Bird, Liquor King

Clearview Estate Winery Outstanding Ambience & Design
Matisse Wine Bar

Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Wine & Beverage List
Emporium Eatery & Bar
Matisse Wine Bar

Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Winery Restaurant of the Year
Clearview Estate Winery and Restaurant
Elephant Hill
Te Awa Winery Restaurant
Terrôir Restaurant, Craggy Range

Eftpos NZ Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant of the Year
Sai Thai

OneMusic Outstanding Restaurant of the Year
Mister D
Hunger Monger

The most important food conversation in New Zealand

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The Restaurant Association of New Zealand and Eat New Zealand have joined forces this year to present the country’s inaugural food and hospitality hui – a two day annual gathering that brings together the best local and international leaders in food and hospitality to share ideas, tools and stories, to educate and inspire!


Food in New Zealand has traditionally being siloed across production, hospitality, and tourism – split between government departments and agencies – and it allows ‘passing the buck’ with regards to tackling the big issues.

Whether it’s the mental health of the people who make and serve our food, or connecting agriculture with tourism, or putting the spotlight on our distribution systems and how things end up on our plate, there is huge value in talking about food for the ultimate aim of making New Zealand the best food destination in the world.



Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois says

“We firmly believe that if we stand together, we will be unstoppable and have a large influence in how our country sees its cuisine, in the context of its people, businesses and place. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for those working in food and hospitality, but nonetheless, an exciting one!”


Eat New Zealand CEO Angela Clifford says

“We have the power to create enormous change with the hui – it’s an event that moves beyond walls of establishments and into the community and nation.”


The world is turning its gaze to New Zealand and we’re perceived as being unadulterated and unique, flavourful and genuine (both people and food). Together, we have the power to create enormous change for good. Join us in the most important food conversation in New Zealand!

Hui 2018 will take place on 24 – 25 October 2018 at The Piano, 156 Armagh Street in Christchurch.

For more information, updates to the event, and to book tickets, please visit and Stay connected with updates as further details roll out closer to the event via our social channels:

Facebook: @restaurantnz   @eatnz
Instagram: @restaurantnz   @eat.newzealand

Supported by principal sponsors American Express and Lincoln University.

The ultimate weekend for coffee lovers

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Aucklanders can enjoy a weekend dedicated to the country’s finest coffee when the city hosts the New Zealand Cup Tasters Championship and the Meadow Fresh New Zealand Latte Art Championship in the last weekend of July.

This coffee immersion isn’t only for the country’s top baristas, any caffeine lover who knows their beans can test themselves at the New Zealand Cup Tasters Championship. While the exacting practice necessary to compete in the Meadow Fresh New Zealand Latte Art Championship means it’s usually the reserve of full-time coffee nerds.

Either way, both events are free for spectators making them great opportunities for coffee lovers to join in, enjoy coffee tastings and follow the competition.  

New Zealand Cup Tasters Championship

Do you think you have a good palate? Can you taste? You could win this Championship! Tasters are challenged to use their senses to spot the odd cup out of three, when two are the same. There are eight rounds and the tasters who have the most correct answers and the quickest times will go through to the next round each time, until there are just four tasters left for the final. The winner will represent New Zealand at the International Cup Tasters in Dubai in September. Come and compete and join us to see New Zealand’s most tuned palates.

When: 5pm – 9pm, Friday July 27

Where: L’affare Melrose, 22 Melrose St, Newmarket

Cost: Spectator entry is free, and everyone is welcome

Meadow Fresh New Zealand Latte Art Championship

Do you love to start your day with a latte heart? What about the much loved tulip? Come and see New Zealand’s most talented baristas showcase their art in the hope of winning the right to represent the country at the International Latte Art Competition in Brazil in November, during International Coffee Week (ICW).

Baristas are judged on the visual attributes and creativity of their art, as well as the ability to recreate it identically.

When: 9am – 4pm, Sunday 29 July

Where: Kōkako Organic Coffee Roasters, 9 Charles Street, Mount Eden

Cost: Spectator entry is free, and everyone is welcome


Click for more information.

The unique attributes that set New Zealand’s food apart

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The world is turning its gaze to New Zealand and we’re perceived as being unique, flavourful and genuine (both people and food).

New Zealand already has a well-deserved reputation for outstanding natural beauty but that’s only a small part of the story. Our nation is filled with the most passionate chefs, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators in the food space whose stories are just as awe inspiring as our landscapes.

From the highest omega lamb in the world, to amazing seafood like cloudy bay clams and green-lipped mussels, combined with world-leading wines, New Zealand produces and exports food and beverages to all corners of the planet!



Join the discussions at this year’s hui – the annual food & hospitality gathering that brings together some of the best local and international speakers who will share their tools, stories, and ideas to educate and inspire! Find out more.

The evolution of Sidart: Sid Sahrawat unveils new fine dining fare

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Chef and restaurateur Sid Sahrawat has revealed a bold new menu direction for his award-winning fine dining establishment, Sidart.

Sahrawat announced in May that Sidart’s famous degustation menus would move to a progressive Indian cuisine offering from mid-July and they’re now ready to unveil that innovative and superbly flavoursome new fare.

The reinvented menu still showcases the best of New Zealand’s produce, but in a contemporary Indian format that is a more formal and precise execution of the cuisine currently offered at popular sister restaurant, Cassia.

Inspired by the diversity of India’s regional cuisines, spices and flavours, the menu elegantly fuses locally sourced produce, with Sahrawat’s attention to detail evident at every turn.

The new dishes are imbued with the creative, mouth-watering flair diners have come to expect from Sahrawat’s kitchen and team of talented chefs. The new menu offering includes (but is not limited to) kingfish, scampi, cultured cream, daikon; hapuka, mustard seeds, tamarind, almond; pork jowl, butternut, wild garlic, Goan flavours and for a sweet finish, green apple, saffron, dill, passionfruit.

Sahrawat’s time as a child growing up in India and his love for Kiwi produce serve as the inspiration for this latest menu evolution.


“I wanted to show how Indian flavours can actually be incorporated within an elevated degustation experience.


The evolution at Sidart reflects my identity as a chef, the journey growing up in India to starting my first restaurant Sidart nine years back. Its new reincarnation showcases my metamorphosis from an Indian chef cooking kiwi food to a kiwi chef who incorporates his love for Indian flavours with his passion for Kiwi produce.”

Sidart’s pricing remains the same with the switch to the new menu.

The five-course degustation is still available for $95 per person from Tuesday to Thursday, while the Full Discovery menu is priced at $160 per person is available Tuesday to Saturday. Wine pairings are available for both options.

The restaurant’s popular Friday chef collaboration lunch offer – a five-course degustation priced at $65 per person – will remain, however the Tuesday Test Kitchen, where chefs test out new dishes, will not be available beyond July 10.

The new direction for Sidart’s menu comes during an especially busy year for the Sahrawats, who will also take over iconic restaurant The French Café from Simon Wright and Creghan Molloy-Wright in September. The famous establishment will then be known as Sid at The French Café and while Sid will add his signature flair to the menu, the concept of contemporary NZ cuisine remains.

The news of that major acquisition came shortly after Sidart and Cassia won the Supreme Award and runner-up prize respectively for Restaurant of the Year at the 2018 Metro Restaurant Awards. Sahrawat was also named Chef of the Year at that ceremony, before recently picking up an Outstanding Restaurateur accolade at the Lewisham Awards.

Sidart’s new menu will be available from July 15, with the restaurant open Tuesdays to Saturdays for dinner and also for lunch on Fridays.

More information about the menu can be found at

Rotorua Hospitality Awards 2018 acknowledges excellence in the region!

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The Rotorua hospitality industry acknowledged the outstanding abilities of their own with the announcement of the winners at a gala dinner held at the Energy Events Centre.

The Awards recognise the outstanding hospitality professionals, all of whom are making a positive impact on the local café and dining scene. The Restaurant Association of New Zealand are proud to organise and foster these Awards with the main purpose being to unite, grow and promote the Rotorua hospitality industry.


Marisa Bidois, CEO Restaurant Association of New Zealand says

“At the Restaurant Association, we believe it’s important to celebrate one another in the hospitality industry. Our work is demanding and there are limited opportunities to come together to support each other. The Rotorua Hospitality Awards represent the occasion to do just that – celebrate the hard work and success of the hospitality industry within the region. Congratulations to all winners.”


With all categories keenly contested, this year’s winners truly exemplify what it means to be at the top of their respective categories.

Phil Elliot from Atticus Finch took top honours winning the Outstanding Chef award, and aspiring chef Bethany-May Allen from Peppers on the Point – Lake Rotorua was awarded Emerging Chef. The team at Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar – Skyline Rotorua took out the Outstanding Front of House Team honour, and Regent of Rotorua proved they have all the ingredients to be named Outstanding Restaurant.

Third Place Café was presented Outstanding Café for a second year running, with Outstanding Barista honours going to Grace Choi, McDonalds Fenton Street.

Urbano Bistro was awarded Outstanding Design & Ambience with Indian Star Restaurant picking up top honours for Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant.  Shaye Honeycombe, Ponsonby Rd Lounge Bar awarded Outstanding Bartender and Brew Craft Beer Pub was named Outstanding Bar.

After an impressive 8,500 votes received, the coveted People’s Choice Award went to Scope Rotorua.

Ray Singh of Indian Star Restaurant was awarded Icon of Hospitality for his dedication to the industry spanning over 25 years, with 18 of them contributing to the flourishing scene Rotorua hospitality of today.

Guests were treated to a delectable selection of local produce and beverages and entertainment by local DJ Shane Schwalger.

For more information regarding the awards please visit\Rotorua.
Stay connected with key updates and announcements on our Facebook page @rotoruahospitalityawards and Instagram @rotoruaawards.

Click to image download


2018 Rotorua Hospitality Awards Finalists

More FM Rotorua Outstanding Barista
Grace Choi, McDonalds

Bidfood Rotorua Outstanding Café
Third Place Café

Hancocks Outstanding Bartender
Shaye Honeycombe, Ponsonby Rd Lounge Bar

Lion Breweries Bar
BREW Craft Beer Pub

Hospitality Management Systems Front of House Team
Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar, Skyline Rotorua

Tabasco Emerging Chef – Bethany-May Allen, Peppers on the Point
Lake Rotorua

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Outstanding Chef
Phil Elliot, Atticus Finch

Indian Star Emerging Business
El Mexicano Zapata

OneMusic Outstanding Design & Ambience
Urbano Bistro

Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant
Indian Star Tandoori Restaurant

Eftpos NZ Outstanding Restaurant
Regent of Rotorua

GrabOne Outstanding Takeout
The Factory Smokehouse & Grill

Skyline Rotorua Outstanding Sales Rep
Rohan Knowles, Diverse Distributors

Eurest Outstanding Supplier
Bidfood Rotorua

Events & Venues Excellence in Event Hospitality
Rotorua Night Market

Rotorua Lakes Council Peoples Choice
Scope Rotorua

Tohu Wines Icon of Hospitality
Ray Singh

Fine Food New Zealand Innovation Awards winners

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We have a winner! Fine Food New Zealand recognises industry innovations with the Fine Food New Zealand Innovation Awards.

It’s the country’s largest trade event for the foodservice, food retail and hospitality industries and it only rolls around once every two years: the winners have been announced at the Fine Food New Zealand Innovation Awards and taking the top honour is Kaitahi™ with Kaitahi™ Frozen Superfood Smoothy Drops.

The 2018 James & Wells Champion of Innovation Award was also the winner of the foodservice category, one of three ‘Most Innovative’ awards in retail, foodservice and hospitality.

Fine Food New Zealand is the international trade event for the foodservice, food retail and hospitality industries and takes place at the ASB Showgrounds over three days.

In its fifth edition, the show has attracted more than 330 exhibitors, both national and international, and is expected to draw more than 8,000 delegates over the course of three days.

Among the many highlights of the event is the Innovation Showcase which brings attention to new products and services. The Fine Food New Zealand Innovation Awards function last night (Sunday 24 June) recognised and celebrated cutting-edge food, beverage, packaging, equipment and other relevant sectors.

The frozen superfood smoothy drops are just our first innovation says Leonie Matoe, business development manager. “It’s so great that our product is validated by industry experts (judges), we were a little naïve about just how great our product is.

“We have many more creative ideas to share with the world and I believe having this recognition will support us to achieve our vision,” says Matoe.

The winner in the retail category is Cabernet Foods’ Everton Dry aged Beef and iMonitor came out on top in the hospitality category with its wireless temperature monitoring technology.

Lorraine Smith, event manager of Fine Food New Zealand says competition for the Innovation Awards was exceptionally strong.


“The judges certainly had their work cut out for them, with high quality entries from diverse companies in every corner of New Zealand and internationally. Reflecting changing attitudes to food and hospitality, many of them are innovators in eco-conscious and healthy living – but what every entrant has shown is the high calibre of food production, food service and hospitality we enjoy in this country.”


The James & Wells Champion of Innovation Award was presented to Kaitahi™ by Carrick Robinson, who heads the Auckland trademarks team at the firm. “It’s not only the great ideas of New Zealanders which makes this country an exceptional producer, provider of hospitality and outstanding foodservice, but also putting those ideas into action. I’m thrilled to recognise Kaitahi™ with this award; congratulations to them, and to every entrant and finalist. Your work is important and contributes to athriving nation.”

Kaitahi™ Frozen Superfood Smoothy Drops represents an advance on the frozen smoothie blends currently on the market. Delivered in the form of frozen drops, trapping in the flavour and goodness, it’s a refreshingly different product that delivers delicious and nutritious functional food in a highly convenient way. The drops include traditional Māori ingredients such as kūmara, pūhā and kawakawa, made by ringawera (cooks) who are familiar with the old ways of doing things.

The judges for the awards were Al Baxter, of The Foodbowl, Countdown’s Nikhil Sawant, AUT’s John Kelleher, Intermedia’s Kimberley Dixon and Marisa Bidois from the Restaurant Association of NZ.

Over the show’s coming two days, delegates will have the opportunity to participate in the Silver Chef Seminar Series, the Mojo Café Hub, the Baking Industry Association of New Zealand’s competition, and to see all that is on offer from a broad cross section of exhibitors.

Fine Food New Zealand incorporates Top Shelf, the industry’s biggest trade liquor event, and the Networking Lounge provides ample opportunity to do business and make new contacts.

The finalists and winner in each of the three categories are:

Most Innovative Retail Product or Service

Cabernet Foods – Everton Dry Aged Beef

• Molly Woppy – Chewy Ginger Delight

• Kaitahi – Kaitahi Frozen Superfood Smoothy Drops

• Five Percent – Gault’s Tomato Ketchup

• The Spirit Workshop – Curious Gin

Most Innovative Foodservice Product or Service

Kaitahi – Kaitahi Frozen Superfood Smoothy Drops

• Handcrafted by Loaf- Cricket Burger Bun

• Cabernet Foods – Everton Dry Aged Beef

Most Innovative Hospitality Product or Service

iMonitor – Integrated Wireless Temperature Monitoring & Digital Food Safety Plan

• Searchfield Electrical Ltd – Noodoe

• Table Direct – Eco Burner

• Burns & Ferrall – VarioCookingCenter®

• Burns & Ferrall – Winterhalter polish free UC Excellence

• Southern Hospitality – Moretti Forni Neapolis

Entry to Fine Food New Zealand and the Innovation Awards Showcase is open to industry trade professionals. Registration was free prior to Saturday 23 June, late registrations will now incur a $25 entry fee online or at the gate.

Food Truck Culture

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An inside look into the food truck business with Wellington’s Beat Kitchen

If you live in an urban area, it’s likely you’ve seen a few food trucks around serving up everything from burgers and fries all the way up to elaborate escargots canapés. Whether it’s a tempting alternative for restaurateurs looking for a change of pace or a unique business concept for new entrepreneurs, food trucks are changing the way New Zealanders are thinking about eating and dining.

We caught up with Craig Sefton, co-owner/operator of member food truck Beat Kitchen, one of Wellington’s best known food trucks, and picked his brain on the art of “food trucking”.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about the owners of Beat Kitchen?

Craig: Kei (the other half of Beat Kitchen) and I worked in a café in Christchurch for a while and we always talked about opening a restaurant together one day. I never really thought it would happen and it came out of the blue one day. All of a sudden we owned a bus and we turned it into a food truck.

Beat Kitchen

Why a truck? Why not bricks and mortar?

Craig: I have always wanted a restaurant for a while, ever since I got better at cooking, but we didn’t want to be responsible for big investors and do monthly reports…we wanted a bit more control and freedom.

So the way to do it was as a food truck.

It’s definitely a lot different to the restaurant world than I thought it was going to be.

Can you give a brief rundown of what goes into starting up a food truck and getting squared with the city on regulations?

Craig: It was a lot of work for us. The main difference with us is that our truck is being registered as a commercial kitchen so we don’t have an off-site kitchen that we go to do all the prep.

Putting in a commercial grade kitchen in the back of a bus was one of the harder things. Getting all the right things in the right places, and then getting the Council to sign-off on it was hard work because there were no regulations for me to go by. It hadn’t been done before.

That was the biggest problem – getting it to be a legitimate, legal commercial kitchen on wheels.


It’s definitely a lot different to the restaurant world than I thought it was going to be.


The Council basically said I had to write the book on a commercial kitchen in a food truck because I was going in and asking questions like “I’ve got a deep fryer that’s this big with four gas hobs, and a grill…so how many cubic metres of air does my extraction system need to be?”

This has pretty much become a standard, so if someone else wants to put in a commercial kitchen into a truck, it’s got to be at least this.

How long did that take from decision to consent?

Craig: I bought the bus in February up in Auckland and I brought it back to Wellington in March, and then we traded on New Year’s Eve. So the whole process from buying it, designing it, figuring out the business plan, getting it all up and running, and building custom-everything took about 10 months.

What are some challenges specific to “food trucking” that wouldn’t necessarily be similar to a regular brick and mortar?

Craig: Consistency is a big one.

There’s no consistency in the food truck world. In a restaurant, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday would be quieter and you can prep, catch up, and prepare for the busy end of the week. There’s none of that.

In the food truck world, you can get up in the morning with a fridge full of food ready to go, and it’s raining sideways from out of nowhere. You’re now stuck in the garage – there’s no point in going out. We tried going out in the rain and there’s no point. People don’t come, which is fair enough.

The funniest one that gets me every time is when we’re chopping a bunch of herbs and a gust of wind comes through the hatch and then your herbs are all over the truck. You just don’t get that in a restaurant. That makes me laugh every time – food truck problems.

A link into the Council of some sort may be quite helpful to finding places to trade – that’s been one of my biggest headaches. We have constraints due to the size of our truck and what we do.

I think the Council is a bit short on the regulations for food trucks. Now that there’s so many of us, they don’t really know what to do. When we first started, I had a hell of a time finding the right person to contact at the Council about places to trade. I had 9 locations scouted and asked if I could park my truck, and the answer was just no, with no explanations.

Finding places to trade, especially over winter, where there’s a roof so it doesn’t matter if it’s raining – that’s the hardest part.

Your famous brioche donuts seem to be in hot demand. What’s the secret in making them so awesome and how did they get so popular?

Craig: I’m not sure how they got so popular. The first gig we did on New Year’s made them. I thought, “what are we going to do in this thing?” We didn’t have any money left from the budget and we didn’t have much to buy food with for the first gig so I thought we could make things that are cheap and sell them. And dough doesn’t cost much so we made donuts and it took off. We sold the whole lot. We kept doing it; people loved it.

You have a pretty great selection of street eats on your menu, including your World Famous in Wellington 15-hour pulled pork burger. How often do you change your menu?

Craig: We change the menu every day. Maybe not the whole menu, but definitely lots of different parts of it. It’s not just taking components and moving them around, we also change whole dishes.

We heavily rely on our Vac-packer – everything we do, we Vac-pack again. It’s all about making the right thing the first time and then you can make it into something else, and then something else, and then hopefully you’ve got rid of it by then.

We basically have no wastage at all or it’s very rare for us to take food home.

Do you have long-term or bigger picture goals for the truck?

Craig: Because it’s quite unique to change the menu every day and doing things other people don’t really do, we were at a bit of a loss for a while meaning how do you grow it? What do you do? There’s no aspirations to have a fleet of them or franchise it.

I think we’re probably going to end up getting a brick and mortar eventually. That’ll make this truck become super viable because it’ll come out of the garage when there’s a big wedding or festival or if someone wants a big private party. It’ll take a lot of the risk out of sitting on the side of the waterfront and not knowing what’s going to happen.

All photos via Beat Kitchen

In case you missed it, check out our March Member Spotlight on The Mussel Inn: Longevity in Hospitality
And don’t forget to read about our April Member Spotlight on O.G.B.: Rebuilding and bringing back heritage to Christchurch


Get your business ready for payday filing

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Employers are now able to file payroll information every payday rather than monthly. Payday filing will potentially save businesses time, particularly those using payroll software, as filing this information will become integrated into their payroll process rather than requiring an extra step. Collecting payroll information more regularly will help Inland Revenue offer increased certainty about employees’ tax obligations and entitlements.

From 1 April 2018, payday filing has been voluntary. It becomes mandatory on 1 April 2019. This means that you, as employers, need to start thinking about how you will integrate payday filing into your payroll processes before it becomes a requirement.

There are three options for electronic filing:

  • Direct from payroll software.
  • Call Inland Revenue on 0800 377 772 to start using one of two options:
    • Upload a file to myIR in the Payroll returns account (if supported by software providers)
    • Onscreen in myIR in the Payroll returns account

If you haven’t already, you should talk to your payroll or software provider about when they will be offering the functionality required to enable payday filing.

We have already started work with a number of the providers to help them get ready for when payroll filing becomes compulsory next year. It would be helpful for us if you could fill in the ‘software’ and ‘version’ fields in your current Employer Monthly Schedule, so that we have an accurate picture of existing software use.

For more information, visit

2018 Hawkes Bay Hospitality Awards nominations open

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The Hawke’s Bay hospitality industry is to be celebrated for the 11th year at the 2018 Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards, an industry event aimed at highlighting the very best of the region.

Presented by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, the Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards have been recreated with a fresh new identity. The new regional hospitality awards design has come from the need to create a more streamlined and consistent awards platform throughout New Zealand, with the Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards representing the highly coveted biannual celebration for its region.


CEO Marisa Bidois says,

“Our goal is to bring the hospitality community together and connect them with the larger community”.


Winners will receive a coveted ‘Chevron’ trophy, symbolising a stripe indicating rank or length of service. The ‘Chevron’ represents the industry’s mark for distinction and provides a recognised symbol for excellence for consumers and visitors alike.

The Restaurant Association has partnered with Eat New Zealand, a collective of New Zealand’s chefs, producers, media, tourism and event operators, who are all dedicated to promoting New Zealand’s best food, beverage, and culinary destinations to the world.

Bidois says “Winners will be listed on the Eat New Zealand website, a beneficial development for the region as Hawkes Bay continues to be recognised globally for its distinction in food and wine”.

Nominations are now open to the industry until Friday, 6 July. Final voting will begin on Monday, 9 July. Winners will be revealed at the awards evening on Monday, 6 August at the Napier Conference Centre.

The Hawke’s Bay general public are also able to vote for their favourite establishment in the Hawke’s Bay Today People’s Choice Award category from 1 July.

Tickets to the event are on sale now, to purchase or for more information regarding the awards please visit

Stay connected with key updates and announcements on our Facebook page @hawkesbayhospitalityawards and Instagram @hbhospoawards.

2018 Hawkes Bay Hospitality Awards Categories

  • Meadow Fresh Outstanding Barista of the Year
  • Outstanding Bartender of the Year
  • Outstanding Front of House Team of the Year
  • Outstanding Chef of the Year
  • EIT Emerging Chef
  • Emerging Wine Service Professional
  • Outstanding Bar of the Year
  • Bidfood Hawkes Bay Outstanding Café of the Year
  • Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant
  • Unison Outstanding Local of the Year
  • Eftpos NZ Outstanding Restaurant of the Year
  • Outstanding Wine & Beverage List
  • Outstanding Winery Restaurant of the Year
  • OneMusic Outstanding Ambience & Design
  • GrabOne Outstanding Sales Supplier/Sales Rep of the Year
  • Hawkes Bay Today People’s Choice – Establishment
  • Hospitality Hero of the Year

Silver Fern Farms’ Restaurant Awards 2018 Winners have been revealed

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Last night the winners’ of Silver Fern Farms’ Restaurant Awards 2018 were announced with awards for restaurants around the country as well as a hat trick of awards for Nelson’s Hopgood’s & Co.

The Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards are a national search for dishes that deliver the very best, inspirational and delicious food experiences, using Silver Fern Farms naturally raised, grass-fed red meat.

Aaron Ballantyne, Head Chef at Hopgood’s & Co in Nelson has taken out the title of Chef of the Year in the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018.  Aaron has the distinction of being the first South Island supreme winner since the Awards began in 2013.

Aaron’s dish won the Best Venison Dish category.

The dish of Silver Fern Farms venison, chestnut polenta, caramelised celeriac, fig and wild mushroom tapenade was described by the judges as “Total harmony on a plate”. The generous portion of tenderloin and a crumbed slow cooked neck croquette were cooked to perfection and the venison was the hero of the dish.

To complete the hat trick, Hopgood’s & Co was named the inaugural winner of the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant of the Year Award. The Restaurant of the Year was awarded for creating an ambience conducive to exceptional food experiences for diners through excellent hospitality and attention to detail, as well as celebrating the very best with Aaron’s red meat dish.



Paul Limacher, Chef de Cuisine at the Chameleon Restaurant InterContinental Wellington, won the award for Best Beef Dish for a second time in a row. Judges said this dish had perfectly executed meat preparation and was paired with innovative accompaniments; the umami butter being an absolute stand-out.

Five-time finalist in these Awards and Head Chef and owner of Palate Restaurant in Hamilton, Mat McLean, created the Best Lamb Dish. Using lamb cutlets cooked to perfection and lamb shanks in a moussaka ravioli. The dish deliciously delivered Mat’s expression of his craft and innovation.

Further north the title of Best Regional Restaurant went to Logan Coath at Archive Bar & Bistro at Mudbrick Vineyard, Waiheke Island. Not only did the judges enjoy the flavour combinations of the dish, a slow cooked Silver Fern Farms lamb shoulder, they felt the warm atmosphere of the restaurant and excellent, attentive wait staff provided a truly memorable experience for diners.

The inaugural winner of the Silver Fern Farms Emerging Chef of the Year is Patrick Pope-Moody, Apprentice Chef, Chameleon Restaurant at the InterContinental Wellington. His dish, Silver Fern Farms venison short loin, fig, cauliflower and goat curd puree, beetroot, beet kraut and beetroot tile with sorrel, was hard to fault and skillfully delivered with perfectly balanced flavours. The new award recognises inspiring new talent and the hard work that goes into becoming a great chef; Patrick will receive a $5000 scholarship to assist with developing his career.



Head judges Catherine Bell and Geoff Scott commented, “It is great to see that chefs are showcasing Silver Fern Farms red meat as the hero of the plate, celebrating the premium cuts and naturally raised, grass-fed red meat. This aspect is what stood out in the winning dishes.  It was clear that these chefs completely understand and have mastered the techniques involved in delivering perfect meat to increasingly discerning diners. Expertly prepared, rested and crafted into tasty main course plates. These chefs also displayed a great variety of skills in executing fine cooking and well-balanced choices of delicious vegetables and sauces to further show off the qualities of their chosen red meat cut.”

Judges saw some wonderful examples of autumnal flavours in the accompanying dishes, including chestnuts, beetroot, wild mushrooms and celeriac. Many of the chefs were inspired to use secondary cuts such as beef cheek, shanks and short-ribs.

The head judges said


“The finalist dishes were truly delicious and it was a real privilege and pleasure to assess and enjoy them.”


Silver Fern Farms’ Manager Marketing of Food Service, Bernie de Bono, says she was delighted with the caliber of this year’s entries and high quality of the dishes the judges had to choose from. “We have been so excited to see how the industry has embraced the awards this year.  The depth of experience and knowledge of their craft has been displayed by all of the entries in the awards.  By hosting these awards Silver Fern Farms is giving New Zealand’s highly skilled chefs the opportunity to share their talents and for that to be celebrated,” she said.

Diners can experience the finalist and winning dishes until the end of July 2018.

Silver Fern Farms’ Restaurant Awards 2018 winners & their dishes:

Chef of the Year,
Restaurant of the Year, Best Venison

Head Chef: Aaron Ballantyne
Hopgood’s & Co

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

Best Beef

Chef de Cuisine: Paul Limacher
Chameleon Restaurant, InterContinental Wellington

Silver Fern Farms Reserve beef tenderloin, green pea crust, black garlic mash, carrot pickle, shiitake, edamame salad and umami butter.

Best Lamb

Head Chef/owner: Mat McLean
Palate Restaurant, Hamilton

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

Best Regional Restaurant

Head Chef: Logan Coath
Archive Bar & Bistro, Mudbrick Vineyard, Waiheke Island

Slow Cooked Silver Fern Farms lamb shoulder, carrot, sunflower tahini, pomegranate, burnt red cabbage and dukkah.

Emerging Chef of the Year

Apprentice Chef: Patrick (Paddy) Pope- Moody
Chameleon Restaurant, InterContinental Wellington

Silver Fern Farms venison
short loin, fig, cauliflower and
goat curd puree, beetroot,
beet kraut, beetroot tile
with sorrel

Additional finalists and their dishes are:

Head Chef, Ashish Bhatnagar
White + Wong’s, Auckland

Silver Fern Farms BBQ beef short ribs, cauliflower puree, xo wild mushrooms, charred spring onion, garlic shoots, white radish kimchi, whipped garlics, tendon crisps

Head Chef: Andrew May
Amayjen – The Restaurant, FeildingSilver Fern Farms tenderloin of venison, burnt onion ash, venison shank & potato pie, roasted beetroots, shallot petals, cranberry gel, venison jus

Andrew Clarke, Chef de Cuisine
Victoria Street Bistro, Hamilton

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

Head Chef: William Hobby
Pravda Café and Grill, Wellington

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

Head Chef: Anthony Lawler
Mills Reef Winery, Tauranga

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

Head Chef: Punit D’Souza
Noble Rot, WellingtonSilver Fern Farm venison Denver Leg, osso bucco, parsnip, pear, vanilla onions, preserved stone-fruit, confit carrot
Head Chef: James Waite
Olivers Victoria Store Clyde, Central OtagoSilver Fern Farms roast lamb rump, lamb shoulder spring roll, bok choy, radish, ginger, miso caramel and shitake jus

Executive Chef: Greg Piner
Vault 21, Dunedin

Lime leaf infused sticky Silver Fern Farms Reserve short ribs: textures of mandarin, wasabi potato cake, crispy sea kelp, cashew and ginger slaw.

The other Emerging Chef finalist was:

Sous Chef: Alexis Vienot
180 degrees at the Copthorne Wellington

Silver Fern Farms braised lamb
shoulder cigar lamb sweetbread
and leek bonbon, organic milk
dried lactose, cauliflower and
almond, spiced jam