Crusted Otago hare loin with carrot puree, broad beans and pea tendrils
Chef Avi – Lombardi’s key ingredient
7 July 2015 Entrees of crusted Otago hare loin and potato and herbed gnocchi are just two of the tantalising dishes now being served at award-winning restaurant Lombardi in Queenstown’s premier boutique hotel, Hotel St Moritz. The winter menu, designed and created by executive chef Avi Yochay, boasts fresh, locally-sourced produce, complemented by a variety of diverse cultural influences. As well as new additions to the entrée menu, Lombardi classics include Atlantic scallops and pork belly – a match made in heaven with the sensational combination of textures and flavours - and duck rillettes, a quintessential countryside dish originally introduced to the menu by a French chef. For mains, it’s all about local fare with the Central Otago lamb – cooked for 48 hours at 70°C - and the premium grade Silver Fern Southland beef fillet, deliciously tender no matter how it’s chosen to be cooked. Lombardi wood-fired pizzas are somewhat legendary amongst guests and locals. They only take a few minutes to cook from dough lovingly prepared in-house and are the perfect winter re-fuel option after a day on the slopes. New for this season are honey roast winter vegetable or spicy chorizo pizzas. Demand for this classic sweet treat was so high that chef had no other choice but to add it back onto the menu -- the brulée and banoffi pizza dessert is to die for and Lombardi regulars always make sure they’ve saved some space to finish off every last spoonful. A warm ginger pudding is a sensory experience as not only does it have the taste buds jumping for joy, but the smell is so aromatic and warming its winter perfection on a plate. Chef Avi Yochay said he’s “very proud” of the new menu and is enjoying hearing positive feedback from guests as they sample new additions.
Crunch time for butchers as judges test bacon and ham
7 July, 2015 The aroma of sizzling bacon may well be wafting over Wellington this Friday as its butchers compete for the 100% New Zealand Bacon and Ham title. The competition, which kicks off in Wellington, sees entries from expert butchers nationwide and celebrates the craft involved with turning 100% New Zealand grown pork into mouth-watering bacon and ham products. This year an impressive 197 entries from 50 entrants nationwide will be scrutinised by an expert and independent panel of 33 judges comprising leading chefs, food connoisseurs and master butchers. The judges will blind-taste each entry to select New Zealand’s best bacon and ham – which will then be available for sale to the consumer. The 100% NZ Bacon & Ham Competition celebrates New Zealand’s finest cured pork products and helps customers identify and appreciate home-grown, sustainable bacon and ham. It also celebrates New Zealand’s pig farmers, who raise pork solely for Kiwis. There are five bacon categories; Middle, Dry Cured Middle, Shoulder, Streaky, Middle Eye; and two ham categories, Bone-In-Ham and Boneless Ham. A new category has been also been introduced - the 100% New Zealand Innovative Pork Product. Butchers must display their most inventive pork product, whether it’s skin on, skinless, boneless, bone out, cured or pickled. Entrants will be judged on the commercial viability of the product, whether the product is logical in its production, its appeal to the market place, practicality for cooking and serving and the all-important innovation. For more information please visit www.pork.co.nz.
Nuts help keep you ticking along
7 July 2015 Time constraints when working in hospitality can often mean meals are skipped but a new study shows munching on nuts will not only keep you going but there are also health benefits to doing so. Simply by adding chopped nuts to your meals or snacking on them throughout the day you’ll be improving your heart health and lowering your cholesterol according to a full literature review of over 100 academic studies released by Nuts For Life Australia . Nuts are a unique wholefood with a wide range of cardio protective-nutrients including healthy fats, plant omega-3s and plant sterols. By eating a handful (30g) of nuts a day, as part of a healthy varied diet, consumers can be assured they are equipped with the nutrients that contribute to a healthy heart. This is welcomed news for New Zealanders given over 40% of deaths are attributed to cardiovascular disease – making it one of our biggest health problems . Different tree nuts have a variety of nutritional profiles, but studies have concluded that almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts all contain the beneficial nutrients for heart health . Kiwis can celebrate their love for nuts on National Nut Day which falls on Tuesday, 20th October this year. For further information on nuts and recipe ideas visit www.alisonspantry.co.nz or www.motherearth.co.nz. For more information on nuts and heart health visit www.nutsforlife.com.au
Reference:  Nuts For Life systematic literature review on Nuts and Heart Health: A summary of the evidence 2015 reviews just over 100 studies conducted by academics from Landmark Nutrition and the University of Wollongong’s Smart Food Centre, Australia. For the full review, visit http://www.nutsforlife.com.au/resources/literature-reviews-summaries/  New Zealand Nutrition Foundation ‘Nut’ Literature Review 2012 authored by New Zealand Nutrition Foundation. Contributors: Siew Ling Tey, BCApSc, MSc, Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, Dr Rachel Brown, BSc, MSc, PhD, Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand & Dr Alexandra Chisholm, Dip HSc, MCApSc, PhD, NZRD, Research Dietician, Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Wellington high tea makers win international award
Hippopotamus restaurant executive chef Laurent Loudeac
6 July 2015 Duck consommé infused with Dilmah jubilee tea and a crepe suzette matched with a tea-infused mocktail have proved the winning menu for Hippopotamus restaurant executive chef Laurent Loudeac and assistant maitre d’ Camille Furminieux. The Wellington pair are the winners of the Dilmah Real High Tea Global Challenge, which took place in Sri Lanka over the weekend. They competed against 20 teams and 13 other countries culminated from 710 competitors over the last eight years of the competition which is held nationally in countries around the world. This is an epic win for New Zealand. Laurent and Camille wowed the judges with their high tea degustation menu, which involved pairing Dilmah teas and tea cocktails with three savoury and three sweet recipes, including two creations featuring tea. The winning menu featured duck consomme infused with a Dilmah jubilee tea, and a crepe suzette matched with a tea-infused mocktail. Loudeac also served his signature salmon sashimi with wasabi, pairing this with a single estate Ran Watte tea. A mille feuille, resembling a custard square, was infused with strawberry tea. The Menu was titled "The Meeting of the Senses" Laurent commented: “We are blown away with the win – it’s very humbling and really puts New Zealand on the world stage when it comes to offering high tea with a twist. I guess you could say the tea revolution is underway – it’s becoming increasingly popular to make tea part of cooking as it’s so versatile to use in gastronomy.” “The competition was intense and involved us experimenting with different tea flavours and included 12 different tea varieties in our menu. It was important to select a tea that had an aroma and taste that would best complement the dish. Some of the tea varieties have different noses, such as hints of chardonnay or syrah,’” said Camille Furminieux. For the past four years, Hippopotamus has been offering guests a high tea experience with a distinct French influence, serving madeleines, macarons and mousse among the treats offered.
2015 GlobalTaste of Korea - NZ Contest
3 July 2015 The Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Auckland will hold a Korean food cooking conteston Saturday 18 July at Cornell Institute of Business and Technology in Auckland. The event is designed to spread the taste of Korean food around New Zealand and is open to all New Zealand citizenswho have an interest and love for Korean food. The winner will be awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Korea and a chance to represent New Zealandin the final rounds in Korea. Thewinner of the Grand Finalwill receive a US$10,000 award. In addition to the contest, there will be a Kimchi Making and Bibimbap Tasting event on the same day. Only a few spaces are available to public via firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries must be received to email@example.com by 10 July using the contest entry form available from HERE
Survey says steak stays supreme
3 July 2015 New Zealand is a nation of steak stalwarts according to a poll carried out throughout June by hot stone cooking brand, Stonegrill New Zealand. The poll designed to tie with International Steak Month, celebrated globally every year claims a resounding 70 percent of consumers named steak as one of their top ten dishes. Thirteen percent of respondents said steak was their favourite food while 50 percent stated a preference for theirs being served medium rare. Twenty-five percent like it rare and only 9 percent want it well done. Eye fillet came out as the top cut (35 percent) followed by scotch fillet, ribeye and sirloin. “Steak is a mainstay on most New Zealand menus, including at Stonegrill restaurants,” says Peter Busch, Stonegrill New Zealand National Manage “We wanted to find out just how popular it is and whether there are any common likes and dislikes that could help us provide an even better steak-eating experience. One thing that really stood out is that a lot of people are now opting for medium rare or rare. Years ago, meat in New Zealand was generally overcooked and grey but people have gradually realized that red meat is tastier and has a better texture when it’s pink.” Many New Zealand restaurants are nailing the cooking of steak with 42 percent of Kiwis saying that the chef usually manages to cook it to their preference. However 19 percent claim that it is difficult to find a properly well-cooked steak. Busch says, “Restaurants should be able to provide everything from rare through to well-done, even if that’s not how they would eat it themselves.”
Kids cook for masterchefs
2 July 2015 Entrants in the Kids Can Cook competition during this years NZChefs National Salon can expect the critical eyes of Chef Simon Gault and MasterChef 2010 winner, Brett McGregor to be trained on their every move. Gault and McGregor have been named as judges for the event aimed at getting primary school kids into the kitchen. McGregor believes that fostering a love of cooking in children is important and advises youngsters who are interested in competing to “choose something that you really love to cook and eat. Your passion will show through in your cooking. “Practice making the dishes for your family and friends before the event and most of all have fun!” The competition is open to children from Year 1 to Year 8 who attend a school in the Auckland Region. To enter, they will need to provide a brief description as to why they like cooking, along with the recipes for two dishes they love to make. Creativity counts and entrants are encouraged to provide photos, drawings, a DVD, booklet, videos or YouTube links – anything that supports their application. The entries will first be assessed by a panel of hospitality representatives who will select which children will go forward to the live “Regional Cook Off” at the National Salon. Competitors will need to be prepared to cook both their dishes. The first dish will be cooked in the heats. Those who make it through to the Regional Grand Final will have to prepare their second dish in a 30 minute timed cook off. The winner will be crowned Auckland’s “Kids Can Cook” champion and receive a family holiday for four to the Bay of Islands. They will also receive a trophy for their school, which can be kept for one year.
Changes to Café comp calculated to enhance
1 July 2015 New Zealand’s popular Café of the Year award is sweetening up the competition with changes to the structure and prizes of the awards. It’s the fourth year of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand sanctioned competition in which finalists from six regions to go head to head for the title of best café in the nation. With the growth of the awards, new categories have been introduced– Best Metro, Best Suburban, Best Rural and Best Classic Kiwi café, in addition to the People’s Choice.
The judging process has also changed. The entrants are shortlisted, and then assessed by industry experts to find the winners. Regionally, consumers can also vote for the People’s Choice category with the national People’s Choice winner decided on the most votes. Votes a café receives also contribute to the overall score it receives in the shortlisting and judging phase. Plus, regional People’s Choice winners are also automatically entered to the judges’ shortlist. Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois says the aim of the awards revamp has been to expose the competition to a larger number of cafés throughout New Zealand. “We’ve learned during the previous three years there is strong and constantly growing interest among owners and managers in the awards. “The addition of the four new categories is designed to satisfy that demand while providing prizes that reflect the scale and enthusiasm of the people in the industry.” Ms Bidois says cafés are judged on a range of factors including atmosphere and appearance, menu meal and coffee, service and staff interaction and overall impression Key sponsors are Meadow Fresh and Heinz Watties. Also supporting the programme are Renault, Dish Magazine, and the Restaurant Association of New Zealand. The supreme winner takes away not only the prestige of NZ Café of the Year but also a $40,000 editorial package in Dish Magazine’s January 2016 issue. It also wins for its owners a ‘Great Cafés of Melbourne Tour’ valued at $10,000. The supreme winning café also receives the use of Renault Kangoo for a year
Establishments need to register for the fourth annual NZ Café of the Year Award by 14 August at www.nzcafeoftheyear.co.nz. Public voting follows through to mid-October and the finalists and People’s Choice winner are announced on 1 November. The winners of each category and the supreme Café of the Year are announced in early December.
Five Stags re-captures heart of rural Whitford
1 July 2015 An iconic building in Whitford that has served since 1910 as a supply store, post office, knitting shop, restaurant, even a brothel, is beginning a new chapter, this time as Five Stags gastropub. Five Stags proprietor John East is a born and bred local, lives in Howick with his partner Jane and parents and siblings nearby. East is heavily involved in Pakuranga Rugby Club where he sits on the board. A love of the iconic building, a chance meeting and a desire for a change in lifestyle have seen this former butcher and telco manager take on the role of all-round ‘head stag’. “Growing up around here, the General Store has always been part of my life, so it’s a real treat to own her after all these years. She has so much history and such a special place in the community, we hope to honour that and steer her well for years to come.” Joining East is head chef Jonny Murray who built a solid reputation at Mt Eden’s Horse & Trap and most recently the Northcote Tavern, where his specialty pies and fish and chips would sell out most days. Serving not just the local community but those from further afield, the quaint semi-rural Whitford township is a popular stop along the picturesque Pohutakawa Coast Highway. And while there are a handful of Five Stags across the country already, the name does seem well suited with local reports of deer in the nearby Whitford forest, a popular spot for mountain biking just a kilometre or so away. While the building’s exterior is essentially the same, the interior has a more open plan feel. A new bar sits centrally within the space, with a bar area off to the left and lounge and dining to the right. The fit-out has retained the down-to-earth charm of a rustic hunting lodge with the five stags keeping watch above the rough-hewn timber bar. Comfy leather couches, booth seating, tartan and timber are right at home alongside horse and farming kit and other memorabilia leftover from the past 100-plus years. Repurposed as a wine cellar, an original post office vault features in the dining room and photographs charting the community’s history sit proudly on the walls. A ‘Hunter’s Cabin’ functions as a semi private dining or meeting room, while outside the wrap around verandah has ample new seating and a double-sided fireplace.
Chefs turnip the heat with vegetables
1 July 2015 The winners of the New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2015, a national competition which celebrates the very best of fresh New Zealand grown vegetables have been announced today. Three Kiwi chefs have sliced and diced, sautéed and salted their way to the top of New Zealand’s premier vegetable competition. They are: MacLean Fraser: Artisan Restaurant, The Bolton Hotel, Wellington BREAKFAST/BRUNCH Kumara, roast corn and chick pea salad with whipped chèvre, smoky eggplant and Ras el Hanout caramel.
Marc Soper, Wharekauhau Country Estate, Palliser Bay, Featherston LUNCH Salt baked celery root, braised endive, potato fennel mousse, textures of winter vegetables, vadouvan spiced granola
Simon Green, Trinity Wharf, Tauranga DINNER Confit baby potato, cauliflower mousse with Autumn baby vegetables
Judge Geoff Scott, Chef and owner, Vinnies restaurant, said this year’s innovative entries really showcased the true potential of vegetables. “It is great to see the variety of vegetables used, all with careful consideration for textural contrast, nutritional value and balance. New and exciting styles of presentation are apparent with some previously overlooked vegetables getting their chance to shine. “Diners are looking for at least one high quality vegetarian offering as a starter and main course and gluten free, diary free and vegan dishes are considered a must in any professional kitchen. The challenge is for chefs to have not just their vegetarian dishes perfectly considered but all their accompanying vegetables as ‘heroes’ on the plate.”
Also judging were Mark Wylie, general manager, Cater Plus Services, Glenn Fulcher, NZ manager for City & Guilds of London, Catherine Milford, editor, Food magazine and Chef Andy Gibb, Chef Tutor at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore. With the growing number of New Zealand focusing on plant based diets, the challenge now in its fourth yearwas for chefs from all backgrounds to create nutritious, vegetarian dishes. Vegetables.co.nz and Bidvest, a national food distributor and Choice Catering Equipment Ltd teamed up in 2015 to set a challenge for New Zealand chefs: show us your best vegetarian dish. Chefs could enter their dishes in three categories: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner/Fine Dining. Chefs submitted their recipes with a photo of their dishes featuring fresh New Zealand grown vegetables. Recipes could be lacto-vegetarian (including dairy), lacto-ovo vegetarian (including dairy and eggs) or vegan (totally plant-based). Every entry received a $50 Bidvest Fresh Produce voucher. This issue of Fresh Inspiration features the three top entries in each category. The winner of each category wins a New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2015 Winner’s Plate, an Air New Zealand Mystery Weekend Travel Voucher worth $1200 and a Samsung 1100w-semi commercial programmable microwave.
Beef and Lamb Awards move forward
1 July 2015 The annual Beef and Lamb Awards have moved to any earlier slot in the busy culinary calendar. As a result the 2016 Excellence Awards will be announced on 1 December 2015. This earlier announcement will allow restaurants the opportunity to promote their award over the holiday period. In order to achieve this objective restaurant assessing will begin on 1st August through until the end of October 2015.
Twenty years ago, a group of key chefs and representatives from the Food Service industry came together to discuss what could be done to lift the standards of beef and lamb cuisine in this country and encourage chefs to showcase these quintessential New Zealand products on their menus. Hence the New Zealand Beef and Lamb Hallmark of Excellence Awards was born. Now called the Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards, the notion remains the same; to recognise and reward chefs and restaurants nationwide who are delivering exceptional and consistent beef and lamb meals to their customers. Rather than comparing chefs and restaurants to each other, the Excellence Awards is based on a restaurant’s individual ability to consistently deliver beef and lamb dishes to a desired standard. It is this core difference that has led to the continued loyalty of chefs and restaurants to the Excellence Awards over the last 20 years.
Applications for the 2016 Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards are open until 31st July 2015. Restaurant assessing begins on August 1st through to the end of October. For an application visit nzexcellenceawards.co.nz
New Coffee Club menus inspired by hot trends
1 July 2015 Look out for new menus at all Coffee Club café and restaurants from today. The revamped menus takes inspiration from the hottest food trends of 2015; chic burgers, trendy salads focused on both health and flavour and breakfast items that are equally at home on the dinner table. “A great deal of thought has gone into creating the perfect combination of dishes for our new menu,” says Andy Lucas, Director and Marketing Manager for The Coffee Club NZ. “There has been a strong focus on using quality, flavoursome ingredients to create delicious dishes that we are very proud to be able to offer our customers.”
The stars of the new menu include a Pulled Pork Burger, Asian Calamari Salad, Brekkie Hot Pot and Chicken Parmigiana. It also features a range of both savoury and sweet Crispizzas, which are served on a thin base to make them a healthier option than traditional deep dish pizzas. “The favourites of The Coffee Club menu, that our customers have come to know and love, remain on offer,” says Andy. “We aren’t looking to completely rewrite the book, but we think customers will appreciate the exciting new flavours and variety our new dishes bring to the table.”
To complement the newly launched menu, customers will be served their meals on a range of new crockery and glassware. “We’ve moved away from standard white round plates and introduced a range of shapes, sizes and darker hues to our crockery and glassware” says Andy. “The variation gives a contemporary feel to our restaurants and has allowed our chefs some creative reign when serving up these new dishes.”