Full list of winners for the 2018 Outstanding New Zealand Food Producer Awards

We raise a glass, and a tasty morsel or two, to the winners of this year’s Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.

NZ Life & Leisure proudly supports the annual Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards. With 186 product entries, from around the country the judges were spoilt for choice.

Clevedon Cheese Co were named the Supreme Winner and winner of the Dairy category for their Marinated Buffalo Cheese.

The other category champions are:

Water: Genevieve’s Mahurangi Oyster Mousse Auckland

Earth: The Clareville Bakery and Café Miche Sourdough, Carterton

Paddock: Homegrown Farm Fresh Meats, Gourmet Whole Lamb Box, Wairarapa

Special Award Spirit of New Zealand: Turk’s Poultry, Foxton

“By supporting these awards, NZ Life & Leisure celebrates our country’s clever, hardworking food producers,”  says NZ Life & Leisure editor Kate Coughlan.

“We want to help New Zealand prosper as well as to support economic activity that enhances the environment; in assessing the products, judges take this into account. When you buy these medal-winning morsels you are not only tasting some of the finest food in the land but helping people to take care of our land. The awards are going from strength to strength and the 186 product entries in 2018 impressed the judges with the overall quality.

Congratulations to the medal winners, especially our Supreme Champion, Clevedon Buffalo Co. Do try and buy their outstanding products – they deserve our support.”



Supreme Champion is chosen from each of the four category champions – Dairy, Earth, Paddock and Water. In addition to each category champion, gold and silver medals are awarded for outstanding products.

A special award, the NZ Life & Leisure Spirit of New Zealand Award, recognizes an entrant with an outstanding story across a broad set of principles including community involvement, environmental consciousness and product quality. This year’s winner, Turk’s Poultry of Foxton, is a deserving recipient on many fronts.

Other special awards include: Outstanding New Product, Outstanding Design, Outstanding Sustainability and Outstanding Drink.



Melt-in-the-mouth lamb doesn’t bounce out the gate of every farm in the land. Wairarapa sheep and beef farmers Dion Kilmister and Ali Scott are focused on bringing all their farming processes to the end goal of ensuring what their customers eat is as good as what they eat at home.

And what they like best is tasty, tender, ewe-lamb meat. The couple run charollais-romney-texel cross lambs on their properties of 1100ha at Bideford and 530ha at Pongaroa (as well as a leased block at Belmont near Wellington). This breed, relatively new to New Zealand, is known for its marbled meat that comes from the intramuscular fat.

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The breed originated in the same area of France as the charolais cattle, and is big-boned with a narrow head and shoulders ideal for easy lambing. It is also characterized by efficient weight gain with a high meat-to-bone ratio. Ali and Dion refer to them as their “meat machines”.

The couple, who received a Keinzley Agvet Sheep & Beef Farm Business of the Year Award 2018 for sustainable and environmental practices, takes a bespoke approach to their online-only sale of premium whole and half lamb boxes.

“The lamb breed ensures a tasty and tender product. As farmers, we eat only female lambs and that is all we sell. Our lamb is finished for three weeks on the home farm at Bideford on a chicory-clover pasture to accentuate the flavour before Dion delivers them in our truck to the local abattoir. We advocate nose-to-tail eating and only put into a customer’s box what we ourselves would love to eat,” says Ali.

Judges’ comments: Enzo Bettio who assessed two cuts – the gourmet lamb rump and lamb rack – described the meat as “absolutely delicious” and “the best lamb I have ever eaten”. Mat McLean (from Palate restaurant in Hamilton, who is noted as one of the country’s most-awarded red-meat chefs, is a Platinum Beef and Lamb Ambassador and the Silver Fern Farms inaugural Premier Master of Fine Cuisine) said the rump was “tasty and succulent with good aroma, well-balanced flavours and good texture.”


Artisan baking is, by necessity, a slow process and if one loaf reflects the craft of the baker it is termed a miche. Also known as pain de campagne this bread shows the magic of the simplest ingredients, just flour (usually 80+% wholemeal), water, salt and a little sourdough starter.

“It amazes me every time,” says Mike Kloeg. “With just these plain ingredients you get something that is soft and moist on the inside with a chewy caramel crust that smells just amazing.”

Michael and Rose Kloeg opened their bakery and café in Clareville, just north of the Wairarapa town of Carterton, in 2013 and have been showing their customers the love ever since with a wide range of café foods and packaged bakery items.


It all began when Mike, from a family of commercial bakers, was visiting friends in the United States and was asked to whip up some hot cross buns. He realized he could not do that without his pre-mixes and additives and had an “Ah hah” moment that turned his attention to baking in the time-honoured, traditional way.

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“This really made me question the process and begin looking at the most natural way to make bread.” This busy couple, who are also parents to four children, credit using locally grown quality wheat and having staff with as much passion for their work as they do.

Judges’ comments: The miche sourdough was of very good quality with a springy texture, nice sourdough aroma and it was moist with a good crust and colour. “This is a good example of a classic product excellently executed and it is delicious.”

Silver medals were also awarded to:
The Clareville Bakery Clareville Cracker (lavash-style flatbread) Head judge Lauraine Jacobs noted that this is a very difficult product to make. The Clareville Bakery Ginger Snap Cookies, The Clareville Bakery Honey & Cinnamon Cookies.


How hard can it be to develop a delicious product using fresh Mahurangi oysters, butter, cream and onion? “Very, very hard,” is the answer from someone who knows.

Dreaming up innovative food products is what Genevieve Knights, chef of 25 years, food writer, cookbook author and food photographer, jumps out of bed for. Six years ago she began selling her boutique pâtés at Auckland’s La Cigale French market in Parnell on Saturday mornings. She now supplies 80 stores nationwide. Encouraged by her friend Lisa Hay of Mahurangi Oysters, she set herself the challenge of developing a product using premium local seafood (including Mahurangi Oysters) to compete with salmon and smoked-fish pâtés.

“It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she says. “Recipes for other parfaits could not be applied to oysters, prawns and scallops as they all have different flesh densities. Scallops blend to a smooth paste, oysters into slurry and prawns into a firm ball.

It was a long, exactingly scientific process of small batch-testing with mix after mix hitting the bin. “The real challenge was to keep that delicate, fresh flavour, and that high-quality, luxury-product feel yet combat the issues caused by the high-temperature cooking required for preservation. If the ingredient ratios were not right, the mix cracked when chilled, or shrank and seeped in the jars. It had to be bottled at a much hotter temperature than other products or it would curdle. In fact, the mix could look and taste perfect when it was poured into jars but five minutes later it could separate completely. The science was completely mad.”

However, on the 41st test, she succeeded and Genevieve’s Oyster Mousse had the judges jumping off their seats exclaiming it had the “Oh my God” factor.

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Judges’ comments: “It is absolutely creamy, delicious, smooth and rich but not too rich with a beautiful oyster flavour which is hard to get in a product with this shelf-life. Take it to the beach with sourdough or crusty French bread.” (*This was a collaboration with Mahurangi Oysters.)

Silver medals were also awarded to: Genevieve’s Truffled Duck Liver Parfait and Genevieve’s Original Chicken Liver Parfait.


Turk’s Poultry, a family-owned business, proudly raises corn-fed and corn-fed free range chickens on select, animal-friendly farms in the Horowhenua.
The company raises the chickens primarily on locally grown corn and then process them into quality products so that New Zealand families can enjoy a rich eating experience, knowing the chickens have been raised with care.

Turk’s is a long-established business which in the last 12 months has embraced a bold new marketing strategy to add value to their products. By developing a new range of innovative marinades that enhance the flavour of its corn-fed free range chicken meat and by introducing smart new packaging, they are opening up exciting market opportunities and growing sales rapidly.

Staff welfare is paramount and their policies to exceed minimum wage, offer counseling services, fund employees in volunteer community work such as firefighting, assist halal-certified employees with visa applications and enroll all processing staff for NZQA Level 3 qualifications were noted by the judges. Turk’s Corn-Fed Free Range Fresh Butterflied Chicken Sriracha Chilli & Lime earned a gold award and scored one of the highest overall scores.

Judges’ comments: (about Turk’s Corn-Fed Free Range Fresh Butterflied Chicken Sriracha Chilli & Lime)
“Mouth-wateringly delicious and succulent. The chicken flavour is enhanced by the marinade but not overpowered so very well balanced. An innovative approach that tastes great with clean, fresh flavours.”

Silver medals were also awarded to: Turk’s Corn-Fed Free Range Fresh Butterflied Chicken Filipino Pinoy BBQ, Turk’s Corn-Fed Free Range Fresh Whole Chicken and Turk’s Corn-Fed Free Range Fresh Chicken Nibbles.



T&G Global Outstanding Sustainability Award: Jersey Girl Organics, Waikato (winner of Dairy Primary Category 2017)

FMCG Outstanding New Product: The Whole Mix, Spiralised Vegetable Noodle Range, Marton

Label & Litho Outstanding Design: The Lucky Taco Habanero Hot Sauce Auckland

Marvellous Marketing Outstanding Drink: Hill Road Fresh Orange Juice, Gisborne

For a full list of all award champions, gold and silver medallists go to outstandingfoodproducer.nz


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NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.

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