Judges blown away by the high calibre entries in the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards
New Zealanders have the chance to step into the judges’ shoes to sample 12 finalist dishes in the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards.
It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. The judges of the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018, top chef Geoff Scott and Catherine Bell, founder of the Garden to Table Trust, were blown away by the calibre of entries this year.
They say narrowing the 70 entries to just 12 finalists was a difficult task due to the high standard.
“Without a doubt, this year the competition has been more intense than ever. Choosing category winners and the supreme award-winner from such a talented line-up is going to be even more challenging,” says Geoff Scott.
The judges mark the entries on the preparation of the meat (which must be tender, flavoursome and the star of the dish, 40 points), taste and texture (25 points), creativity (15 points), presentation (10 points) and promotion of the dish in the participating restaurants (10 points).
This year the competition has a new Emerging Chef category. There are two finalists: Patrick Pope-Moody, Apprentice Chef at Chameleon at the InterContinental and Alexis Vienot, Sous Chef at 180 degrees at the Copthorne, both in Wellington. The winner of the Emerging Chef category will receive a prize of $5000 to go toward furthering their culinary career.
The New Zealand public can judge the delicious difference between the 12 finalist dishes (excluding Emerging Chef entries) for themselves until the end of July in restaurants across the country.
The 12 finalists and their dishes are:
The Archive Bar & Bistro at Mudbrick, Waiheke Island
Logan Coath, Head Chef
Slow-cooked Silver Fern Farms lamb shoulder, carrot, sunflower tahini, pomegranate, burnt red cabbage and dukkah
White + Wong’s, Auckland
Ashish Bhatnagar, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms BBQ beef short ribs, cauliflower puree, xo wild mushrooms, charred spring onion, garlic shoots, white radish kimchi, whipped garlic, tendon crisps
Palate Restaurant, Hamilton
Mat McLean, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms lamb cutlets, lamb-shank moussaka ravioli, eggplant purée, black garlic, minted hollandaise
Victoria Street Bistro, Hamilton
Andrew Clarke, Chef de Cuisine
Pecan Smoked Silver Fern beef cheek, crispy sweetbreads, tendon, sweetcorn, cress and pickles
Mills Reef Winery, Tauranga
Anthony Lawler, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms venison strip-loin, textures of beets, horseradish yoghurt, herbed goat’s curd
Amayjen – The Restaurant, Feilding
Andrew May, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms tenderloin of venison, burnt-onion ash, venison shank & potato pie, roasted beetroots, shallot petals, cranberry gel, venison jus
Chameleon at the InterContinental, Wellington
Paul Limacher, Chef de Cuisine
Silver Fern Farms beef tenderloin, green-pea crust, black garlic mash, carrot pickle, shiitake, edamame salad, umami butter
Pravda Café and Grill, Wellington
William Hobby, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms lamb, carrot purée, black garlic, citrus and jus
Noble Rot Wine Bar, Wellington
Punit D’Souza, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms venison Denver leg, osso bucco, parsnip, pear, vanilla onions, preserved stone fruit, confit carrot
Aaron Ballantyne, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms venison, chestnut polenta, caramelized celeriac, fig & wild mushroom tapenade
Olivers Victoria Store, Clyde
James Waite, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms roast lamb rump, lamb shoulder spring roll, bok choy, radish, ginger, miso caramel, shiitake jus
Vault 21, Dunedin
Greg Piner, Executive Chef
Lime-leaf infused sticky Silver Fern Farms Reserve short ribs: textures of mandarin, wasabi potato cake, crispy sea kelp, cashew and ginger slaw
Catherine Bell is a cook and founder of Epicure Trading and the Garden to Table Trust, and was founding editor of Dish magazine. Catherine has judged the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards since its launch.
Acclaimed chef Geoff Scott has been delighting Kiwi diners with his unique style, melding European traditions with fresh New Zealand produce, for over a decade. Geoff trained in Paris, before returning to New Zealand to establish the highly successful Vinnies Restaurant. Geoff runs a food business of his own with regular masterclasses, is a regular contributor to Bite magazine and is a co-head judge in the Ora King Salmon Awards.
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