173 restaurants have received the longest running culinary award in New Zealand, the Beef and Lamb Excellence Award for 2019 after a tough and rigorous assessment process. Now in their 23rd year, the Excellence Awards recognise the skill, expertise and talent of our greatest chefs and together with the iconic gold plate, signpost to consumers where they can try the pinnacle of beef and lamb.
Peter Gordon, arguably New Zealand’s greatest export, has been wowing the folk of London and New Zealand with his remarkable dishes and has travelled the world plying his trade – but rates Kiwi chefs amongst the best in terms of cooking with beef and lamb.
“I have eaten at restaurants around the world and I’m hugely proud of the world-class beef and lamb we have here in New Zealand.
“I put this down to two factors; we have access to these wonderful meats, that are grass-fed and reared outdoors, giving them a delicious texture and flavour.
“But it also comes down to our chefs. They are talented, creative, dedicated, adventurous – I could go on throwing adjectives at them – but the proof is there for anyone to experience at restaurants up and down the country.”
After an application process that saw over 230 restaurants apply, an army of more than 100 independent, culinary-trained assessors were sent out to ‘mystery shop’ the restaurants and return their verdicts on whether the dishes had met the standard to be labelled as a leader of beef and lamb cuisine.
New Zealand is renowned for its world-class beef and lamb by locals and visitors alike. Shaun Clouston, Executive Chef at the Wellington institution Logan Brown, has experienced first-hand the pull New Zealand beef and lamb can have on international visitors.
“I once had a customer who saw a lamb dish from Logan Brown featured in a magazine. He then got on a plane from Japan, landed in Auckland and flew straight to Wellington just to have New Zealand lamb.”
“The beef and lamb dishes I have tried by other Kiwi chefs are phenomenal – verses what I’ve had elsewhere, they are unbelievably good. Just the other day I had probably the best lamb I’ve ever eaten in my life at a restaurant right here in New Zealand.
“I think what really helps us as chefs is access to fantastic product, this is where it all begins. It’s difficult to group all chefs into the same basket but we are all able to draw from the world’s best product.”
But for any self-confessed foodie, the proof is in the eating. Anyone keen to experience how good we Kiwis are at cooking with beef and lamb should head to the restaurant directory on nzexcellenceawards.co.nz, book a table and try for themselves.