Kiwi chefs have bounced back from a challenging year to achieve a record success rate in the Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards.
The 2012 Excellence Awards attracted an unprecedented 208 entries from restaurants nationwide, with 189 achieving the Award – a record 91% pass rate, up from 89% the previous year.
“The Christchurch earthquake saw the closure of many of the city centre’s top restaurants and put extra pressure on the remaining restaurants in suburban Christchurch, stretching them to capacity,” says Rod Slater, CEO of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Inc., organisers of the Awards.
“Add to that the challenge faced during October when restaurants in the main urban centres were inundated with overseas diners, which placed huge demands on the hospitality sector.  Additionally, there’s been a shortage of lamb available on the domestic market.  All in all, it’s been a taxing year for the restaurant industry, and they’ve risen to the challenge very well.”
The 2012 Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards recognise consistency and quality in the preparation and presentation of beef and lamb cuisine, following anonymous assessments by culinary experts late last year. 
Five chefs who displayed exceptional culinary skills during the assessment process have also been named as 2012 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ambassadors.  They are:  Brenton Low, à Deco, Whangarei; Justin Scheihing, Casito Miro, Waiheke Island; Stephen Barry, Mount Bistro, Mt Maunganui; Shaun Clauston, Logan Brown, Wellington; and Ben Batterbury, True South Dining Room, Queenstown.  In addition, Brenton Low and Stephen Barry have also been named as lifetime Platinum Ambassadors.
In recognition of their achievement, each restaurant receives a gold-rimmed presentation plate and point of sale material, as well as a listing that will be posted on Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s website
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