Nine finalists have been announced in the Metro / Audi Restaurant Personality of the Year awards and restaurant diners are being called on to cast their votes.

Metro magazine editor Simon Wilson says that the finalists have “the professional skills and warmth of personality to set the standard for restaurant service in Auckland”.

It is the only category in the Metro / Audi Restaurant of the Year awards that is decided by public voting and New Zealanders can now place their votes by text*.

The finalists hail from as far afield as Bulgaria, the UK and Wellington and represent a mix of venues from casual to fine dining.

Last year’s winner, Cat Vosper from Waiheke’s Casita Miro (pictured), is defending the title against restaurant staff from The French Café, Roxy, Depot, Coco’s Cantina and others.

Wilson says that good service isn’t about the type of restaurant or its longevity.

“It comes down to the person and their passion and respect for the job. It could be the old timer at the corner bar or the sommelier at your favourite restaurant.”

The winner will be announced at the official awards ceremony on 23rd April 2012 at St Matthew’s in the City in Auckland.

Further details on the finalists and the award are available in the April issue of Metro, on sale now.

The nine Restaurant Personality of the Year 2012 finalists are:

Carol Pearcy, sommelier, Basque Kitchen & Bar
Cat Vosper, owner, Casita Miro
Damaris Coulter, co-owner, Coco’s Cantina
Ganesh Raj, co-owner, The Tasting Shed
Gary Olasz, restaurant manager & sommelier, Roxy
James Kirkwood, co-owner & sommelier, Sunday Painters
Joe Williams, restaurant manager, Depot
Michelle Moore, waiter, The French Café
Mimi Gilmour, co-owner, District Dining & Mexico

*To vote: text “first name” (e.g. “Carol”) to 244. Texts cost 20 cents. Closing date for voting is 10am, Friday, April 13th 2012.

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