NZ Beef and Lambassadors

January 25, 2019

Pablo Tacchini from Cucina in Oamaru is one of Beef + Lamb NZ’s Ambassador Chefs.

Pablo is originally from Argentina where he trained at the culinary institute, Mausi Sebess for two and a half years. He worked in Argentina in different restaurants for more than five years before coming to New Zealand for a holiday with his wife and young son. They fell in love with New Zealand, especially Oamaru and after being offered a job as a chef they decided to stay and make New Zealand home. 

Pablo worked at restaurants around the Otago region before taking over as head chef at Cucina 1871. About two years ago the opportunity came about for Pablo and his wife to buy the restaurant. They changed the name to Cucina, upgraded the decor and changed the food style to what it is now. 

Pablo’s style of cuisine is a reflection of what he grew up eating with his family every day. Part of his family comes from Italy and the other part from Spain, so when he mixes these two influences with his Argentinian culture, his style of cuisine gets very interesting. . . 

Oamaru is blessed with several restaurants where diners are guaranteed delicious food and wonderful service.

Riverstone Kitchen a few kilometres north and Fleurs Place to the south are the most well known.

Cucina, at the entrance to Oamaru’s historic precinct, facing the southern end of the town’s main street is just as good.

Beef + Lamb’s media release on the Ambassador Chefs:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand have announced their five Ambassador Chefs for 2019 to act as figureheads to drive innovation and creativity within the foodservice sector. The appointments follow the announcement of the 173 Beef and Lamb Excellence Award holders for 2019, with the ambassadors selected from some of the highest rated restaurants during the assessments.

The five selected for the coveted roles are; Andrew May (Amayjen the Restaurant, Feilding) Freddie Ponder (Tables Restaurant, New Plymouth), Jarrod McGregor (Rothko at Sculptureum, Matakana), Pablo Tacchini (Cucina, Oamaru) and Scott Buckler (No. 31 Restaurant, Hanmer Springs). . . 

The Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chefs’ roll of honour looks like a who’s who of Kiwi culinary trailblazers, with the quintet following in the footsteps of some of New Zealand’s most celebrated chefs. Peter Gordon, Ben Bayley, Sid Sahrawat, Kate Fay and Rex Morgan are just a few of Aotearoa’s finest that have featured in an ambassadorial capacity for Beef + Lamb New Zealand over the 23 years of the Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards. . . 

Lisa Moloney has been Food Service Manager for Beef + Lamb New Zealand for over 12 years, overseeing the Ambassador Chef programme. Lisa said: “This year’s ambassadors have been selected not just because they are fantastic chefs, they were identified because of their creativity, dedication and excitement for cooking with beef and lamb. 

Their purpose is simple; to inspire a network of likeminded chefs to move forward, try something new and showcase what amazing creations are possible with beef and lamb.

Kiwi food fanatics looking to sample the very best the ambassadors have to offer will be able to attend an Ambassador Series Dinner, hosted at each of the chef’s restaurant, with each chef being paired with a Platinum Ambassador Chef to create a unique beef and lamb dining experience.

The Excellence Awards and Ambassador Chefs give recognition to the chefs who highlight beef and lamb on their menus and do it superbly.


365 days of gratitude

February 7, 2018

We stopped at Fleurs Place for dinner on the way home from Dunedin this evening.

As she gave us our menus, Fleur told us there was a whole brill big enough for two to share which had just come in on a boat half an hour ago.

It was baked and came accompanied by fresh steamed vegetables and a chilli, coconut and coriander sauce.

It was delicious and I’m grateful not just for it but for the blessing of such a wonderful restaurant so close to home.


366 days of gratitude

September 17, 2016

Friends from the North Island came to stay with us yesterday.

We took them to dine at Fleurs Place last night where we experienced the usual warm and efficient service, delicious food and a magical sunset.

fleurs-evening

 

This morning we wandered round Oamaru’s historic precinct, taking in a visit to Steampunk HQ  which now features an infinity portal.

infinity-portal

Oamaru used to be the town you had to crawl through on State Highway 1 on the way from somewhere to somewhere else. Now it’s a destination.

Seven Sharp made it New Zealand’s sharpest town, Lonely Planet dubbed it the coolest town in the country a view echoed by travel writers with gems like Pen-y-bryn which featured on Kiwi Living this week.

Seeing the town through the eyes of visitors today reawakened us to its charms for all of which I’m grateful.


Council + community = progress

April 14, 2015

A challenge from Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher has resulted in the main road in to Moeraki being rebuilt:

. . . Haven St has been closed to through traffic since August 2013 when a 350m to 400m section collapsed following heavy rain.

The road is being rebuilt as part of a push by the Moeraki community to reopen the road because of concerns about the width of the alternative route via Tenby St and that visitors were having problems finding their way to local restaurants and accommodation providers.

A group was formed to work with the Waitaki District Council and manage offers of help and material from local people to tackle the work under the supervision of an engineer and work on the road began in February.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the rebuilt section of street was ”very impressive”. He was ”blown away” by what had been a ”fairly unique partnership” between the Waitaki District Council, the Moeraki community and local contractors.

”Numerous community members have done so well getting the road to this stage.”

He did not believe so much work had ever gone into the stretch of road, which had been notorious for slips for many years.

”Time will be the real test, of course. This work has been the chance to give it our very best effort. If this doesn’t succeed, I’m sure that nothing will, short of spending millions on it.”.

The project started as a challenge the mayor gave to the community at the meeting at the Moeraki Marae late last year.

”They more than met that challenge.”

An NZTA subsidy was not available for the road, and the district council offered to help pay if the community matched it in cash or in kind.

In the end the council would have spent about $60,000 of ratepayers’ money on the road.

He was keen to publicly acknowledge the huge impact the Moeraki community had made. . .

The popularity of the harbour,  Fleurs Place and the tavern leads to a lot of traffic on this road and the detour was less than optimal.

The rebuilding is a tribute to the people who accepted the mayor’s challenge.

This project could be a template for progress in other areas where there’s an opportunity for the council and community to work together.


Riverstone features in Cuisine awards again

June 10, 2014

Riverstone Kitchen, the first regional restaurant to win Cuisine’s restaurant of the year, features in the awards again this year as runner-up for the regional award.

Auckland fine-diner Sidart is Cuisine’s Restaurant of the Year 2014, heading off a string of strong contenders in the highest restaurant count in the 10-year history of the awards.

Winners of the prestigious Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards, held in association with Vittoria Coffee, were announced last night at a glitzy who’s who of the restaurant industry at St-Matthew-in-the-City.

Sidart also took out the title of Sanpellegrino Best Metropolitan Restaurant, with head judge Kerry Tyack describing the degustation-only menu of inspirational and innovative chef Sid Sahrawat as “art on a plate”.

The picture-perfect presentation of superbly flavoured dishes, a complementary drinks list and seamless service made dining at Sidart an experience to be savoured in every way, Tyack says. “Good chefs never stand still – they continuously experiment, evolve and adjust. Over the past year, Sid Sahrawat’s food at Sidart has come into its own and truly excelled.”

Adds Cuisine editor Sarah Nicholson, “This year it’s been tougher than ever before to create a dining experience that stands out from the exceptional group of restaurants in New Zealand. Sid Sahrawat’s food is clever and technical, and looks amazing, but at the end of the day it is absolutely delicious, and that is the most important thing.”

Sixteen new eateries made the cut in the nationwide awards this year, with the total number of coveted chef’s hats increasing to 30 from 2013’s twenty.

The Grove, plus its buzzing new Italian offspring Baduzzi, earned executive chef Benjamin Bayly the title of Vittoria Coffee Chef of the Year. Baduzzi was crowned American Express Best Specialist Restaurant, with Wellington’s popular Ortega Fish Shack & Bar the runner-up.

Nic Watts’ chic Japanese eatery Masu at Auckland’s SkyCity was named Electrolux Best New Restaurant, with the intimate Roots in Lyttelton as runner-up.

The KitchenAid Best Regional Restaurant title went to the smart, laid-back Chim Choo Ree in Hamilton, with North Otago’s awards stalwart Riverstone Kitchen the runner-up. The House of Travel Best Winery Restaurant was Hawke’s Bay’s elegant Elephant Hill, with Central Otago’s picturesque Amisfield Bistro the runner-up.

Proprietor Chris Upton’s long-standing dedication to wine service earned Auckland’s O’Connell Street Bistro the Negociants New Zealand Best Wine Experience award, a new category this year, and the captivating Mojo Horiuchi, manager-sommelier at Auckland’s Kazuya, was named European Foods Restaurant Personality of the Year.

Find full profiles of the winners and other successful restaurants in the Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards 2014 on cuisinegoodfoodguide.co.nz, or get the Cuisine Good Food Guide 2014 free with the July issue of Cuisine, on sale 16 June 2014.

Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards 2014 winners:

RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR 2014: Sidart, Auckland

Vittoria Coffee Chef of the Year: Benjamin Bayly, Baduzzi and The Grove, Auckland

Sanpellegrino Best Metropolitan Restaurant: Sidart, Auckland

KitchenAid Best Regional Restaurant: Chim Choo Ree, Hamilton
Runner-up: Riverstone Kitchen, North Otago

Electrolux Best New Restaurant: Masu, Auckland
Runner-up: Roots, Lyttelton

American Express Best Specialist Restaurant: Baduzzi, Auckland
Runner-up: Ortega Fish Shack & Bar, Wellington

House of Travel Best Winery Restaurant: Elephant Hill, Hawke’s Bay
Runner-up: Amisfield Bistro, Central Otago

European Foods Restaurant Personality of the Year: Mojo Horiuchi, Kazuya, Auckland

Negociants New Zealand Best Wine Experience: O’Connell Street Bistro, Auckland

2014 Hat recipients
Scores out of 20 determine a restaurant’s hat rating. One hat is considered very good, two hats are great to excellent and three hats (18-20) mean a restaurant is consistently amazing and among the best of the best.

3 HATS
Clooney, Auckland
Sidart, Auckland
The French Café, Auckland
The Grove, Auckland

2 HATS
Baduzzi, Auckland
Kazuya, Auckland
Logan Brown, Wellington
Masu, Auckland
Merediths, Auckland
The Grill by Sean Connolly, Auckland

1 HAT
Amisfield Bistro, Queenstown
Bracu, Auckland
Cazador, Auckland
Charley Noble, Wellington
Chim Choo Ree, Hamilton
Depot, Auckland
Elephant Hill, Hawke’s Bay
O’Connell Street Bistro, Auckland
Orphans Kitchen, Auckland
Ortega Fish Shack & Bar, Wellington
Ortolana, Auckland
Pegasus Bay, Waipara, North Canterbury
Pescatore, Christchurch
Ponsonby Road Bistro, Auckland
Rata, Otago
Riverstone Kitchen, Oamaru
Roots, Christchurch
Soul Bar & Bistro, Auckland
Taylors on Jackson, Petone
The Larder, Wellington

One of the benefits of tourism and provincial development is the improvement in the quality of food in smaller towns.

In North Otago we’ve got Riverstone Kitchen just north of Oamaru,  Fleurs Place at Moeraki to the south and in Oamaru for the finest of dining there’s Pen-y-Bryn Lodge.

Portside, at the harbour and Northstar are also worth a visit and for more casual dining Fat Sally’s is also good.

There’s others featured here.


Fleur honoured for service to food

January 2, 2013

Fleur Sullivan has been named as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the food industry.

. . . Although Fleur’s Place was named by Cuisine magazine as one of the ”100 best things about New Zealand” in 2010, she said her abiding principle as a restaurant owner had always been to promote local produce, whether in North or Central Otago.

”Food is part of our identity and cultural heritage and the aim to keep the connection between the food we eat and the land [and] ocean it comes from preserves, supports and promotes a sustainable system.

”So it is great to be recognised at the grass-roots level for my contribution to this industry.”

Ms Sullivan is also a member of the New Zealand Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame.

The award could also have been given for services to tourism.

Fleurs Place attracts visitors from all around New Zealand and the world.

The food lives up to its reputation for quality and freshness but Fleur is also a vital ingredient in the restaurant’s success.

Other southern rural people honoured include:

Emeritus Prof Roger Field, Wanaka, for services to education and land-based industries.

Emeritus Prof Roger Field has had a 41-year involvement with Lincoln University, where he promoted agriculture and the land-based industries of New Zealand as vice-chancellor. . .

Geoffrey Watts Neilson, Mosgiel, for services to agriculture.

Geoff Neilson (70) played a leading role in the eradication of the hydatids disease in New Zealand. . .

Peter Thomas Cummings, Lawrence, for services to agriculture and the community.

For about 50 years, Peter Cummings (70) has been ”very much” involved in serving his community. . .

Another recipient of an honour from the south is Dunedin poet Diane Brown who received an ONZM for services to writing and education.

. . . Brown has a long-standing voluntary involvement with the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) and has tutored a wide range of creative writing courses.

She was creative writing co-ordinator and tutor at Aoraki Polytechnic from 2001 to 2011, taught creative writing courses at Paremoremo Prison and recently established Creative Writing Otago – an online creative writing school. Brown has published six books, including Before the Divorce we go to Disneyland (1997), Eight Stages of Grace (2002) and Here Comes Another Vital Moment (2006).

She has won the Michael King Writer’s Studio Inaugural Residential Fellowship (2005), the Montana Book Awards Best First Book of Poetry for Before the Divorce we go to Disneyland and the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship (1997) and was a finalist in the Montana Book Awards in 2003.

She also won the 2012 Janet Frame Memorial Award.

The south gained a new knight in the New Year’s honours list – Julian Smith, OBE is now Sir Julian.

The Dunedin businessman – the chairman and managing director of Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times – has been made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to business. . .

Like most other successful business people he is also a philanthropist.

The full honours list is here.

Rural recipients, or those with rural links include:

Mr Mark Wiremu Solomon, of Christchurch. For services to Māori and business who was also knighted.

Mr John Kenneth Buck, OBE, of Havelock North. For services to the wine industry and the arts, CNZM.

Dr Philip Seabrook Yates, of Auckland. For services to agribusiness, ONZM.

Mr Ian Trevor Corney, of Taumarunui. For services to agriculture, MNZM.

Mr John Graham Hartnell, of Christchurch. For services to the community and beekeeping, MNZM.

Professor Vincent Ernest Neall, of Palmerston North. For services to Earth science, MNZM.

Mr Peter James Ombler, of Te Puke. For services to the kiwifruit industry, MNZM.

Mr John Raymond Wheeler, of New Plymouth. For services to the horse racing industry, MNZM.

Mr Ross Malcolm Gordon, of Methven. For services to Land Search and Rescue, QSO.

Mr Noel Dawson Anderson, of Riverton. For services to the Coastguard, QSO.

Mr Raymond Baker, of Auckland. For services to the Jewish community and the racing industry, QSO.

Mr Warren David Barker, of Fairlie. For services to the community, QSO.

Mr Frederick Charles Cooper, of Gore. For services to the community, QSO.

Mrs Mavis Jessie Davidson, of Owaka. For services to the community, QSO.

Chief Fire Officer Raymond Peter Dever, of Tolaga Bay. For services to the New Zealand Fire Service, QSO.

Chief Fire Officer Ian Moffat Lindsay, of Winton. For services to the New Zealand Fire Service, QSO.

Chief Fire Officer Robert James Lunn, of Greymouth. For services to the New Zealand Fire Service, QSO.

Every time the New Year and Queens Birthday honours are announced people think of those not included who would be at least as deserving.

Anyone can nominate someone for an honour.

Information on how to nominate someone and a link to the nomination form are here.

I have made two nominations.

One was successful the other, equally deserving and supported by references by a wide range of people, was not.

I am sure it had nothing to do with the worth of the nominee and everything to do with the then-government’s view of my political links.

I am pleased that this government sees beyond politics when recommending recipients of honours.


NZ Whisky gold

September 13, 2012

The Loan and Merc, which is also known as Fleur’s Other Place*, is housed in an old warehouse in Oamaru’s historic precinct.

However, the restaurant isn’t the only tenant in the building. Upstairs the New Zealand Whisky Company,  is maturing  400 barrels of whisky two of which have won world recognition:

New Zealand has blitzed the field at a United States Whisky Olympiad, in a boost to the region’s burgeoning whisky-making credentials. Two rare whiskies from the New Zealand Whisky Collection won gold medals at the Mid West Whisky Olympics in Michigan, outperforming some of the world’s most revered whiskies from Scotland, Ireland and Canada.

The 10-year-old Dunedin DoubleWood, which is available in Australia through Dan Murphy’s, was crowned World’s Best Blended Whisky. Silver went to Canada’s Crown Royal and bronze to Jamesons of Ireland.

And the 21 year old South Island Single Malt whisky was named World’s Best Single Malt in the same competition, beating the Silver Cross from Michigan’s Journeyman Distillery and Scotland’s Glenlivet 15 year old French Oak Reserve.

The New Zealand Whiskey Collection comprises 400 barrels of stock from the country’s last distillery which closed in the 1990s. It has since been maturing in a South Island seaside warehouse.    Spokesman Greg Ramsay said the wins were a massive endorsement of its quality.

“For the Dunedin Doublewood and South Island Single Malt to beat some of the best whiskies in the world in this competition is testament to their pure, premium ingredients and the craftsmanship with which they were made,” Mr Ramsay said.

“New Zealand is starting to take its rightful place as a producer of some of the world’s great whiskies.”

* Called Fleur’s Other Place because it’s run by Fleur Sullivan of Fleurs Place fame.

Hat tip: Oamaru Life


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