Gold plate just as desirable in 20th year of marking excellence
12 August 2015 For the 20th time, culinary trained professionals are assessing beef and lamb dishes across the country for the annual Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards.
The nation’s longest running culinary awards credit the talent of chefs and restaurants who consistently produce a high calibre of cuisine, testimony to the timelessness of New Zealand beef and lamb. Over the past month, entries have been pouring in with existing Excellence Award holders hoping to secure themselves another plate. Beef and Lamb New Zealand Food Service Manager, Lisa Moloney, says in addition to the existing award holders, a good number of new restaurants have also entered. “I’ve heard from many chefs this year, who are new entrants to the Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards. They have been creating new and innovative dishes to impress restaurant assessors. “They want to showcase their skills with New Zealand beef and lamb to hopefully secure themselves a gold plate,” she said. Assessors are looking for a consistent standard of beef and lamb cookery from chefs. Each dish is assessed on its presentation, flavour harmonies, preparation and cooking of the meat and overall flair and execution of each dish. The 2016 Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards, in their 20th year, present restaurants with a gold plate to honour the chef’s culinary craft in excellent beef and lamb dishes. The assessment period runs until the end of October, where culinary trained anonymous assessors attend and assess the dishes of hopeful restaurants. This year’s gold plate recipients will be announced on December 1st and will hold the award for the duration of 2016. For more information visit nzexcellenceawards.co.nz.
Lemon and oats sustain busy lives
12 August 2015 Everyone knows life can be full-on in hospitality so having snacks that are full of flavour and energy-boosting goodness are essential.
The Kiwi favourite we all know and love – Mother Earth’s Baked Oaty Slice – has done it again by turning a traditional recipe into an exciting new flavour – Lemon Meringue. Based on the Kiwi favourite dessert the Lemon Meringue Pie, Baked Oaty Slice Lemon Meringue is delicious and wholesome made with real ingredients like butter and oats, mixed with lemon pieces and chunks of meringue and then baked, just like you would at home. The new Baked Oaty Slice Lemon Meringue compliments the existing Baked Oaty Slice range of 11 flavours that are all new and improved with more oats in each bar and new-look packaging. Mother Earth Senior Brand Manager, Caroline Potter says: “Not only are we excited to add Lemon Meringue to the Baked Oaty Slice range, we’ve updated our packaging to highlight what shoppers have loved about Baked Oaty Slice for the last 20 years - plenty of oats for sustained energy, great taste and quality ingredients,” says Potter. New Zealand Nutrition Foundation Dietitian, Sarah Hanrahan says: “The real benefit of oats in Baked Oaty Slices is the low glycaemic impact which means they will contribute to keeping you feeling fuller for longer and are a more satisfying snack.” Great for enjoying as the perfect snack for eating on-the-go, in the lunchbox or with a cup of tea, the whole Baked Oaty Slicerange has a flavour for everyone to enjoy. Both Baked Oaty Slice Lemon Meringue and the new and improved full range are available in packs of six for an RRP of $3.99 or as single serves and available in the lunchbox aisles of supermarkets nationwide. For further information on these new products and other delicious offerings from Mother Earth, visit www.motherearth.co.nz. Or check out Mother Earth on Facebook www.facebook.com/MotherEarthNZ
Race on to join Ōra King front runners
4 August 2015 Twelve dishes have been announced as leaders for the 2015 Ōra King salmon best dish award but the door remains open to two more chefs who need to have their wildcard entries in by the end of August. Of the dozen finalists announced so far, four are from the Wellington area and two from Auckland with chefs from Christchurch, Blenheim, Nelson, Waiheke Island, Wairarapa and Banks Peninsula completing the field. The Ōra’s recognise outstanding contributions from chefs working with Ōra King salmon produced exclusively for fine dining restaurants in New Zealand and overseas. Entries for the best dish awards come from chefs throughout the country and the final judging is handed over to industry experts. The Ōra King ambassador awards for NZ and offshore chefs are decided solely by Ōra King’s global team. Preliminary judging of the front runners gets underway this month and the four finalists are announced on Monday 21 September. The judges’ task is not complete until each of the four finalists’ dishes are re-judged to find the supreme award winner. The winners of all Ōra King categories are announced at the awards ceremony in Marlborough (20 October).
The 12 shortlisted chefs who have made it onto the list so far are:
Andrew Brown – Dragon’s Den Social Lounge, Christchurch - Ōra King Jp2 - a Japanese Inspired Taste Plate
Bradley Hornby – Gibbs on Godfrey, Blenheim - Ōra King, Parsnip Puree, Black Garlic, Hazelnut, Mandarin.
Chetan Pangam – 1800Restaurant, Millennium Hotel, Wellington - Vadouvan confit Ōra King Salmon, Ōra King Belly Baingan Pakora, Cauliflower textures, Curry Leaves, Vadouvan Air Popcorn, Smoked Yoghurt, Ōra King Caviar & Crackling.
Jason Innes – Mahana Estates Cellar Door, Nelson - Vine Smoked Ōra King Salmon, Braised Lentils & Leek, Sauce Genevoise.
Jinu Abraham – The Heritage Hotel, Auckland - Pan fried Ōra King Salmon, Sweet Pea Mousse, Raspberry Vinaigrette Pearls, Wakame Flakes and Truffle Crisp.
Laurent Loudeac – Hippopotamus Restaurant, Museum Hotel, Wellington - The Ōra King Experience.
Thomas Barta – Harbourside Ocean Bar & Grill, Auckland - Flavours of the Sea.
In 2014 Kiwi ex-pat chef Matt Lambert from New York’s The Musket Room picked up the Best International Ambassador Award for Ōra King salmon for the second year running. Vincent Pouessel, who is executive chef at Aureole in Las Vegas, took the award for the Best International Ōra King Dish. The New Zealand winners last year were Glen Taylor from Taylors on Jackson in Petone who took out the Best NZ Ōra King Ambassador while Ben Batterbury from The Rees in Queenstown was awarded Best NZ Ōra King Dish.
Collaboration pays off for avocado industry
4 August 2015 The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand and plans to quadruple sales of New Zealand avocados by 2023 is off to a roaring start with the industry almost hitting the half way mark last season with a record 7.1m trays worth $135m harvested during 2014-15 season. Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, Jen Scoular, says the goal is to achieve $280m worth of sales by 2023 through a five year Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). “Confidence is riding high, and the industry is on track to achieve the PGP objectives and significantly boost avocado sales and productivity in less than ten years,” says Scoular. NZ Avocado’s just released annual report is proving collaboration and increased investment is already contributing to the impressive results and is prompting industry members to communicate and collaborate like never before, with work now underway to create the industry’s first information portal. “The idea is to provide a central online hub of information accessible to growers, orchard contractors, post-harvest operators, marketers and exporters. As an industry we want to share data and knowledge and provide people in the avocado industry access to insights that will help improve decision-making and orchard productivity,” she says. Scoular, along with other NZ Avocado representatives, met with growers in Whangarei and the Far North last week to discuss information needs which will form the basis for the functional specifications for the information portal. Further workshops will be held in the Bay of Plenty, and with other avocado industry groups. The move is another sign New Zealand’s avocado industry is maturing into a more cohesive, competitive force on the global stage. Demand from export markets continues to grow, and avocados are more popular with consumers than ever before. Co-operation among exporters delivered excellent results in the Australian market in particular last season, with 3.2m trays of New Zealand avocados sold at stronger than forecast values despite a huge Australian-grown crop also being available. A further 1.2m trays were sold into new and developing markets. Andrew Darling, chairman of the avocado exporters’ council, AVEC, says after some tough years the industry is maturing and working together closer. “We are recognising collectively the potential value of our industry and working on a common industry strategy to achieve greater growth,” he says. “As exporters we are competitive but collaborate on planning and volume forecasting. The Australian market remains crucial to New Zealand and planning our supply into Australia is a critical requirement which affects us all. “We did this very well in 2014-15 which is reflected in the strong returns for growers. Across Asia we leveraged the generic collateral for ‘Premium Avocados from New Zealand’ which we co-brand with our individual in-market brands. “The 2014-15 result shows we are growing stronger as an industry. We are able to promote ourselves to create demand, and supply a high-quality product to meet that demand,” says Darling. Avocado Industry Council chairman Ashby Whitehead says the board was very pleased with the “excellent results” reported in this year’s annual report and was looking forward to the AGM on 26 August. “We have made fantastic progress towards our PGP goals in the last 12 months. Increasing investment in the industry reflects the growing confidence in the opportunities for New Zealand avocados in both our export and domestic markets.” Investment has also ramped up in our avocado nurseries, with an 18 month wait for delivery of trees,” Whitehead says. Scoular says consumers can’t get enough of avocados. “We’ve just launched a new campaign to help educate the public about where their avocados come from as food traceability is a very current issue, and an area we excel in. “Overall we are very happy to be working together as an industry to satisfy the demand for premium avocados from New Zealand,” she says.