New Zealand's leading meat maestros have been recognised as a cut above the rest.
After sampling and savouring close to 70 dishes from leading chefs around the country, the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018 judging panel have now selected their 12 finalists.
Founded in 2013, these awards recognise the creativity and artistry of Kiwi chefs at the top of their game, showcasing their craft and expertise while using Silver Fern Farms' natural grass-fed red meat.
Using premium cuts of Silver Fern Farms beef, lamb or venison, local chefs were invited to put forth their own interpretation of what makes a truly unique meat dish. This year's entries further reinforce that there is a growing demand among discerning diners for dishes that deliver on the expectation of untouched natural, authentic and delicious food.
Silver Fern Farms' head judges Geoff Scott and Catherine Bell said the calibre of this year's entries had made it difficult to acknowledge only 12 front-runners.
“We are very excited by the positive feedback from the judging team. These highly qualified assessors reported delicious dishes and amazing feats of creativity. What’s more, they noted an ever-increasing awareness from chefs of the value of cooking with premium quality red meat, something Silver Fern Farms consistently delivers," they said.
"Without 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.”
Among this year's leading line-up was the showcase of young talent, evident within the Emerging Chef category. This field has now been narrowed down to 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.
Alongside the Emerging Chef of the Year award, this year's categories include Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Regional Restaurant of the Year, Best Beef dish, Best Lamb dish and Best Venison dish.
Those yearning to know who will take out supreme titles will have to wait a little while longer yet, with the judges scheduled to announce the award-winners during the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards evening in Auckland next month.
The Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018 Top 12 Finalists:
- The Archive Bar & Bistro at Mudbrick, Waiheke Island
Chef: Logan Coath, Head Chef
Dish: Slow-cooked Silver Fern Farms lamb shoulder, carrot, sunflower tahini, pomegranate, burnt red cabbage and dukkah.
- White + Wong’s, Auckland
Chef: Ashish Bhatnagar, Head Chef
Dish: 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
Chef: Mat McLean, Head Chef
Dish: Silver Fern Farms lamb cutlets, lamb shank moussaka ravioli, eggplant puree, black garlic, minted hollandaise.
- Victoria Street Bistro, Hamilton
Chef: Andrew Clarke, Chef de Cuisine
Dish: Pecan Smoked Silver Fern beef cheek, crispy sweetbreads, tendon, sweetcorn, cress and pickles.
- Mills Reef Winery, Tauranga
Chef: Anthony Lawler, Head Chef
Dish: Silver Fern Farms venison strip-loin, textures of beets, horseradish yoghurt, herbed goats curd.
- Amayjen, The Restaurant, Feilding
Chef: Andrew May, Head Chef
Dish: 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
Chef: Paul Limacher, Chef de Cuisine
Dish: Silver Fern Farms beef tenderloin, green pea crust, black garlic mash, carrot pickle, shiitake, edamame salad, umami butter.
- Pravda Café and Grill, Wellington
Chef: William Hobby, Head Chef
Dish: Silver Fern Farms lamb, carrot puree, black garlic, citrus and jus.
- Noble Rot Wine Bar, Wellington
Chef: Punit D’Souza, Head Chef
Dish: Silver Fern Farms venison Denver leg, osso bucco, parsnip, pear, vanilla onions, preserved stone fruit, confit carrot.
- Hopgood’s, Nelson
Chef: Aaron Ballantyne, Head Chef
Dish: Silver Fern Farms venison, chestnut polenta, caramelised celeriac, fig & wild mushroom tapenade.
- Olivers Victoria Store, Clyde
Chef: James Waite, Head Chef
Dish: Silver Fern Farms roast lamb rump, lamb shoulder spring roll, bok choy, radish, ginger, miso caramel, shitake jus.
- Vault 21, Dunedin
Chef: Greg Piner, Executive Chef
Dish: Lime leaf infused sticky Silver Fern Farms Reserve short ribs: textures of mandarin, wasabi potato cake, crispy sea kelp, cashew and ginger slaw.
The Emerging Chefs finalists and their dishes are:
- 180 degrees at the Copthorne, Wellington
Chef: Alexis Vienot, Sous Chef
Dish: Silver Fern Farms braised lamb shoulder cigar, lamb sweetbread and leek bonbon, organic milk dried lactose, cauliflower and almond, spiced jam.
- Chameleon at the InterContinental, Wellington
Chef: Patrick Pope-Moody, Apprentice Chef
Dish: Silver Fern Farms venison short loin, fig, cauliflower & goat curd puree, beetroot, beet kraut, beetroot tile, sorrel.
To learn more about the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards, simply visit their website here.