Trio of excuses to check out The George’s new look
After six weeks with the renovators in, the wraps come off the new look at Christchurch's The George and 50 Bistro on Friday 4 August. And three ...
The Cuisine Good Food Awards has announced 18 category winners and 84 Hatted restaurants for 2023.
Those restaurants that took home “hats” – either 3, 2 or 1 – have been judged the best in Aotearoa New Zealand. Similarly, those establishments and industry players who took home category wins are considered the leaders of their craft.
For the second consecutive year, Amisfield, Queenstown, was named the American Express Restaurant of the Year and awarded a 3-hat status, considered to be “extraordinary and approaching perfection”. Dining there is an experience described by the judges as “magical, entertaining and memorable”.
The restaurant is led by former Cuisine Chef of the Year Vaughan Mabee, who, in a further demonstration of his prowess, also took home the Ōra King Salmon Innovation Award this year.
“Mabee remains top of his game, delighting us with his theatre of food delivery and executing a near faultless and daring dance of innovation putting Kiwi food firmly on the global culinary stage," says Kerry Tyack, Lead Judge.
Cuisine Chef of the Year went to Zennon Wijlens from Paris Butter in Auckland for his leadership and ingenuity. This restaurant also joined the coveted 3-hat list.
Another restaurant joining the six top 3-hat establishments is Logan Brown in the Wellington CBD, hailed by the judges for its consistency and quality. “For over 26 years co-owner Steve Logan with long-time head chef and co-owner Shaun Clouston and his team have established a restaurant where diners enjoy world-class food and attentive, knowledgeable service in a calm, stylish atmosphere," says Tyack.
The prestigious 3-hatted group also includes Cocoro, Auckland; Pacifica, Hawke's Bay; and Sid at the French Café, Auckland.
The 2023/2024 edition of the Cuisine Good Food Guide features more than 250 restaurants from across the country and the updated hatted list also recognises the exceptional talent within the industry across both the North and South islands.
Category winners include Central Fire Station Bistro in Hawke's Bay, which won the Leefield Station Regional Restaurant of the Year. Specialist Restaurant of the Year went to Hiakai in Wellington; and The Alchemist’s Table Winery Restaurant of the Year was awarded to Black Estate, Waipara Valley, North Canterbury.
The Cuisine Good Food Awards recognise outstanding individual talent from those who are starting to make a mark on the industry alongside those who have already had long and successful careers.
Individual awards included Rising Talent – One to Watch for Neil Sapitula at Solera & Saltwater, Bay of Plenty; and Peter Gordon at Homeland, Auckland, who was named the Pead Food Legend.
The NIWA – Haku Kingfish Champion for Change for 2023 was given to chef Ben Bayly. Not only does Bayly run several leading establishments – three of which are hatted restaurants – but the judges commended him on his vision.
This year’s awards included several new categories: Hotel Room Service of the Year and Luxury Lodge Chef of the Year, which went to Chef Des Harris and the team at Hilton Auckland and Paul Froggatt, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay, Northland respectively.
In addition, the Wine Experience of the Year award was renamed to the Sommelier & Wine Experience of the Year to include a greater focus on the important role that sommeliers play. This year’s recipient was Andrea Martinisi from The Grove, Auckland. Drinks List of the Year went to Teresa, Napier, Hawke’s Bay.
Other standout category winners included Greenstone Creek Metropolitan Restaurant of the Year: Culprit, Auckland; Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year: Hello Beasty, Auckland; and Long-Term Player of The Year: Floriditas, Wellington.
American Express Restaurant of the Year: Amisfield – Lake Hayes, Queenstown
Cuisine Chef of the Year: Zennon Wijlens – Paris Butter – Auckland
Pead Food Legend: Peter Gordon – Homeland – Auckland
NIWA-Haku Kingfish Champion for Change: Ben Bayly – Ahi, Origine, The Grounds – Auckland, Aosta, Little Aosta, Blue Door Bar, The Bathhouse – Queenstown
Specialist Restaurant of the Year: Hiakai – Mount Cook, Wellington
Greenstone Creek Metropolitan Restaurant of the Year: Culprit – Auckland
Leefield Station Regional Restaurant of the Year: Central Fire Station Bistro – Napier, Hawke’s Bay
Ōra King Salmon Innovation Award: Vaughan Mabee – Amisfield – Queenstown
Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year: Hello Beasty – Auckland
The Alchemist’s Table Winery Restaurant of the Year: Black Estate – Waipara Valley, North Canterbury
Kenwood Restaurant Personality of the Year: Poi Eruera – Odettes Eatery & Hugo’s Bistro – Auckland
Hotel Room Service of the Year: Hilton – Auckland
Pastry Chef of the Year: Lisa Crowe – Skycity – Auckland
Rising Talent – One to Watch: Neil Sapitula – Solera – Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty
Luxury Lodge Chef of the Year: Paul Froggatt – The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs – Matauri Bay, Northland
Sommelier & Wine Experience of the Year: Andrea Martinisi – The Grove – Auckland
Drinks List of the Year: Teresa – Napier, Hawke’s Bay