There was, once upon a time, a culture of dining whereby the celebrity status of a restaurant's Maître D somewhat outshined that of the chef, known 50 years ago in France as simply le cuisiner (cook), a much humbler title.
The global cultural move towards celebrity chefs has shifted the scene so vastly that now there are whole chains of restaurants named after them. New Zealand is by no means an exception to the rule, with front of house teams sometimes veiled by a cloak of anonymity.
Antipodes Water have set out to change things, with the launch of a $10,000 Hospitality Scholarship Award, aiming to inspire front of house teams across the country to take pride in delivering exceptional service.
Let's face it - without talented and trained wait staff, restaurants would easily become chaotic buffets - and we all know that good service can transform an average evening into an exceptional one.
Antipodes' scholarship will be judged by a collection of some of New Zealand's industry leaders, from our only Master Sommelier, Cameron Douglas, to Demaris Coulter, Owner and Operator of Coco's Cantina.
Entries are now being taken from restaurants that serve Antipodes, enhacing the water company's association with exacting standards. Their philosophy is that pure water deserves excellent people to serve it. Applicants need to be nominated by their restaurant manager, and set out what they would use the $10,000 for to develop their career, be it travel, training or work experience.
The winner will be annonced 1st October 2014, the first of hopefully many candidates to go on to build New Zealand a repuation for wonderful food experiences from door to dish to drink.
To find out further information, apply or nominate, visit the Antipodes website.