Branch Presidents

The Restaurant Association (RA) is organised into a network of 15 regional branches, each led by dedicated branch presidents who act as the organisation’s regional ambassadors. With the national office headquartered in Mt Eden, these branch presidents serve as the proverbial “eyes and ears” on the ground providing a vital link between members and the RA, championing the organisation’s resources and suite of support systems. As ambassadors for local issues and activities within the industry, they leverage their intimate knowledge of regional dynamics to identify opportunities and address key pinch points, ensuring that members receive the assistance they need. 

Co-Owner – Monsoon Poon, Boulcott Street Bistro, Burger Liquor

39 years in hospitality sit behind Mike Egan, the National President of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand. He co-owned his first restaurant in 1983, Van Gogh’s Eastbourne, and has gone on to co-own another 11 hospitality and accommodation businesses in New Zealand, with a stint managing a Private Members Club in the centre of London. Mike remains close to the coal face of hospitality, as co-owner of Boulcott St Bistro, Monsoon Poon Wellington and Auckland, and Burger Liquor. A true Wellingtonian, invested in giving back to his local community, Mike is also a Trustee of Wellington Culinary Events Trust – the operator of Visa Wellington on a Plate, and a Member of the Wellington Mayoral Recovery Advisory Panel.  

National President & Wellington Region President

Director – Comensa, Café Hanoi, Ghost Street, Perch

Krishna Botica is a widely acclaimed restaurateur, known for her commitment to promoting quality and excellence within the hospitality industry.   

With over 30 years’ industry experience, Krishna co-owns and operates Comensa; the group company of award winning eateries Cafe Hanoi, Ghost Street and Perch. Krishna has won numerous hospitality accolades and is the president of the Auckland chapter of the Restaurant Association. 

Born in Auckland in 1971, Krishna Botica has been associated with hospitality since the age of 14, ensconced since 18 and managing establishments since 23. Botica has worked in such diverse markets as Boston, London and the Auckland City Art Gallery coffee shop and as a waiter, bartender, maître d’ and company director. Her name and expertise have been associated with many of the groundbreaking Auckland restaurants that have set the groundwork for the city’s current burgeoning dining scene including Prego, Metropole, S.P.Q.R. Krishna joined Café Hanoi as a director on its founding in 2010 and remains director to this day, adding saan, Xuxu Dumpling Bar and Comensa to her portfolio. As well as her love for hospitality, Krishna holds a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Auckland with a double major in 16th Century English Literature and Italian Language & Culture and holds a Level 4 Workplace Assessor qualification from the Hospitality Standards Institute.  

National Vice President & Auckland Region President

Managing Director – Logan Brown

Steve has 45 years’ experience in the hospitality industry in both NZ and abroad. He is passionate about New Zealand, its food chain, hospitality, tourism and the amazing Kiwis who have potential to make us number one in the world. His well-known restaurant, Logan Brown, is considered one of New Zealand’s finest, and Steve is considered one of the most influential restaurateurs in the Kiwi culinary landscape. Steve also owns Liberty Restaurant and consults to Bellamys by Logan Brown at the Beehive. He works directly with education institutions and believes direction, mentoring, training and quality experiences for employees are more important than ever. Steve is the current National Vice president for the Restaurant Association and sits on the advisory board of Eat NZ. 

National Vice President

Director –  Lone Star, Whangarei

As a people-centric, outcomes-driven and collaborative senior executive with highly developed relationship building skills, Angus is passionate about turning vision into reality. With extensive experience within large, complex settings which require clear thinking, high emotional intelligence and exceptional communication skills, he prides himself on an insightful, empathetic approach to his work. Angus, director of Lone Star Whangarei, has spent the past 20+ years driving commercial growth and creating high performing cultures within the fast-paced, dynamic hospitality & QSR industries, displaying an ability to create successful brands whilst uniting others to a common goal. An innovative, inspirational and results-oriented leader who has a unique ability to deliver successful end-to-end people solutions by listening to others and taking the time to genuinely understand issues. He has an inclusive, growth-focused mindset and using his broad skillset is interested in helping businesses and people alike to achieve their potential. 

Northland Region President

Director – Hayes Common & Weave Eatery, Hamilton

Having moved to Hamilton in 2007 to open their first cafe, Lisa and her husband have spent the last 16 years creating and building three diverse offerings, The River Kitchen (2017-2006), Hayes Common (2006 – present), and Weave Eatery (2021 – present). They understand that local representation is needed to support and promote our talented hospitality community. Waikato has so much to offer and celebrate, but they often fly under the radar nationally. Creating a cohesive united voice across our operators and suppliers will ensure we continue to grow and flourish as a region. Lisa hopes to be a positive voice within her local industry, and have a strong passion for promoting local, sustainable practices, and promoting a healthy culture in the workplace. 

Waikato Region President

Owner – Solera,  Venue Manager – Saltwater, Mount Maunganui

Nick is the owner of Solera and a venue manager at Saltwater in Mount Maunganui with over 20 years hospitality experience, across Australia and now Bay of Plenty. Specialising in restaurants of the more premium nature he also has experience working in bars and function spaces. Nick has a degree in business management and has built his career around assisting business who are generating revenue, but struggling to turn it into profit. 

Bay of Plenty Region President

Rotorua Region President

Owner Brantry Eatery and Yum Food Company

A passionate foodie, Prue has owned Brantry Eatery and Yum Food Company in Taupo for 22 years. She is incredibly proud to have spent her professional career within the hospitality industry and value the connections between herself, her food and her clients.  

Prue takes great pride in the relationships she has forged within the local community and looks forward to engaging with other likeminded professionals within our industry.

Taupo – Central North Island Region President

Co-Owner – Mister D Dining

For Prue a career in hospitality has spread over many decades. Starting off in the kitchen a “light bulb” moment came when she realised that her creative side flourished in this environment.  After the traditional kiwi OE travel time working in kitchens and front of house positions in London, New York and Australia returning to NZ it was obvious that she was going to stay involved in the industry. The most long- standing was Vinnies in Auckland which spanned 15 years of dedicated fine dining restaurant ownership and where she met her life long partner and chef David Griffiths. They now own Mister D in Napier and have been there for eleven years. Much water has passed under the bridge in the last 3 years and we have encountered all the challenges which Covid and recent flooding has thrown at them. It certainly makes for resilience and so Prue’s motto of “every days a new day” keeps her in check.

Hawke’s Bay Region President

Owner – India Today, New Plymouth & Koi Lounge, Cambridge

Iqbal (Sunny) owns India Today in New Plymouth and Koi Lounge in Cambridge. He has been in the hospitality industry as a business owner for 23 years, having been an employee for two years prior. On average, Sunny has either started a new restaurant or renovated one every 18 months over the duration of his career. With vast business experience, he brings a wealth of knowledge – both advice for survival as well as how to enjoy the journey. 

Taranaki Region President

Owner Operator, Cafe Cuba, Palmerston North

For the last 15 years, Darlene has been the owner operator of Cafe Cuba in Palmerston North. Her husband also works at the café, along with their daughter who is the baker. Their son also works at Café Cuba when he isn’t studying at Victoria University.   Prior to owning and operating the café, Darlene worked for 17 years at The Empire Hotel, rising through the ranks from barmaid to restaurant manager and on to managing the office and operations. 

Darlene has always loved the hospitality industry, although recognises at the present time it is a lot tougher. She enjoys all aspects of the café, especially being in the kitchen amongst the baking and cooking. The café’s menu is based around what she has fed her own family and friends and she enjoys coming up with new ideas for menus, cakes and cabinet food.   

Manawatu Region President

Co-Owner , Gramado’s Restaurant,  Blenheim

Saulo Camillo Nunes, hails originally from Brazil’s Porto Alegre city, Rio Grande do Sul state (Gaucho). His journey in the hospitality industry spans 17 remarkable years, beginning as a humble kitchen hand and blossoming into the ownership (with his wife Emma Camillo Nunes) of Gramado’s Restaurant in Blenheim – a testament to their passion and dedication to this field. 

For the past 12 years, Gramado’s has provided the Marlborough community with authentic Brazilian flavours and warm hospitality. This experience has not only honed Saulo’s culinary skills and business acumen but also instilled in him a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by restaurants in the Marlborough region. 

What fuels his excitement about joining being a RA Branch President is the unique perspective he brings to the table. The journey, from kitchen hand to restaurateur, has provided Saulo with an intimate understanding of all aspects of the industry, from the demanding kitchen grind to the intricacies of front-of-house operations and business management. This firsthand experience, coupled with his passion for fostering community and collaboration, makes him confident in his ability to contribute meaningfully to the Association’s goals. 

Marlborough Region President

Owner/Operator – Harvest Kitchen, Nelson 

Brigitta Croop has over 30 years in hospitality as a chef both in NZ and Australia in various roles from 5-star Hotels, corporate catering to event catering. She has owned and operated her own businesses for the past 15 years in Nelson and is truly passionate about the industry and the opportunities it gives to our youth. Brigitta is a firm believer that there is a need to raise up both the profile of the industry as well as the next generation of hospitality workers, instilling a sense of pride, comradery and to value hospitality as a professional career and not just a job with limited opportunities. 

Nelson Region President

Co-Owner Inati, Christchurch

Lisa Levy grew up in Hawkes Bay and worked in front of house roles in various restaurants in the country while at University. She moved to London in 2001 where she began working for restaurants and private event catering companies who catered for the Royal Family. It was in London that she met Simon, her now-husband, working together at Rules Restaurant. Lisa retrained in Human Resources whilst in London and moved into HR for the Maybourne Hotel Group. She was heavily involved in the rebirth of the Connaught whilst it underwent a multi million pound restoration. In 2013, Lisa and Simon made the move to New Zealand and relocated in Christchurch. Upon their return to Christchurch post-quake, they could see what an exciting city Christchurch would become. Their dream was to open their own restaurant here – and then INATI was born.

Canterbury Region President

Co-Owners, Restaurateur & Chef – La Rumbla, Slow Cuts, Good Day Café, Arrowtown

In the resort town and tourist mecca of Queenstown, hospo owners and partners Sam Gruar and Penelope Johnson have created their own thriving niche in a very crowded market, with their Iconic La Rumbla and Slow Cuts restaurants and recently opened Good day cafe. Prior to business ownership, both have enjoyed significant hospitality careers with Sam having done his time at New Zealand institutions Saffron and The French Cafe while PJ was an integral part of The Good Group team and involved in the openings and growth of their Botswana Butchery outlets. After a stint together in Ibiza at one of the world’s largest nightclubs they returned to New Zealand and have opened three outlets in quick succession.   

Southern Lakes Region President

Owner/Operator – The Perc Café,  The Perc Exchange,  Dunedin

Sarah is currently the owner/operator of The Perc Café,  Stuart Street and the Perc Exchange, Princes Street Dunedin. She also started and sold both The Swan in Bath Street and The Perc St Clair (now Long Dog) at the salt water pool. She has been working in the hospitality industry for over 25 years and bought her first cafe 17 years ago. As well as her experience in hospitality, Sarah also operated in the retail sector as a clothing store owner for over 15 years. During this time,  she was on the Otago Chamber of Commerce (now Business South) retail committee. Sarah has been a member of the Restaurant Association for four years and am looking forward to being more active in this space and meeting other members. For Sarah being in hospitality is all about manaakitanga, she enjoys welcoming people into her space, sharing food and building relationships. 

Otago Region President