Cuisine magazine is set to evolve its highly anticipated annual Cuisine Good Food Awards by announcing for the first time a top 50 list of hatted restaurants based on an evolved judging criteria, with this year’s winners to be revealed in a new digital format on 25 November.

The Cuisine Good Food Awards (CGFA), now in its 15th year, acknowledges the very best of New Zealand’s restaurants and chefs nationwide and produces the Cuisine Good Food Guide, showcasing outstanding places to eat and drink across the country.
The CGFA’s traditional ‘hats’ – a rating system of 1, 2 or 3 – will see a refresh this year. For 2019 to be awarded one hat, a restaurant will need to score 16 – regarded as ‘great’. A score of 18 will no longer be awarded 3 hats. To receive this most prestigious accolade a restaurant will need to be considered ‘extraordinary and approaching perfection’ with a score of 19 or 20.

Based on the updated hatting system, Cuisine will this year identify a top 50 list consisting only of hatted restaurants, and an additional 50 restaurants (51 – 100) that also demonstrate an extremely high standard to comprise the full list of the top 100 dining destinations nationwide.

Additionally, in 2019 the CGFA will recognise the highest-achieving restaurants in 13 categories, including the highly coveted Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year awards.

Cuisine editor and co-director Kelli Brett says the updated approach will allow the awards to showcase the restaurants and teams that are truly at the very top of their game and on par with a global dining standard. As well as this, 2019’s digital format – which will see Kelli, alongside lead assessor Kerry Tyack, hosting the awards via online video stream – will enable a wider audience to be involved.

“The Cuisine Good Food Awards have always been about highlighting culinary excellence and recognising the very best dining experiences and restaurateurs New Zealand has to offer. The standard of dining is only getting higher, and we want our list of the top 50 New Zealand dining experiences to reflect this,” says Kelli.

“Along with the revitalised hatting system, the Awards themselves, which have traditionally been celebrated at an evening event, will evolve this year to take place via online streaming. With more focus on the judging process this year we’ve decided to move to a digital format for 2019’s Awards,” says Kelli.

“What’s exciting about this development is that they are now accessible beyond the hospitality industry – with food enthusiasts nationwide having the opportunity to watch the announcement and celebrate alongside our winning restaurants and chefs. We encourage restaurants, chefs and food lovers throughout the country to gather together and celebrate with us.”

Cuisine selects over 40 experts located around the country, led by Kerry Tyack, to anonymously judge restaurants nationwide throughout the year and determine the top 100 list.

Kelli says New Zealand is increasingly recognised on the global stage as a premium dining destination and our first-class products and ingredients are widely sought after.

“Cuisine recently attended the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in Singapore, where we had the opportunity to engage and learn from influential chefs, food writers and experts from around the globe and profile the outstanding quality of our evolving food and drink scene,” says Kelli.

The Cuisine Good Food Awards is the only nationwide restaurant awards programme of its kind. Now independently owned, the annual awards are viewed globally as the authority on the dining scene in New Zealand.

The awards are supported by a group of premium companies that are committed to investing in and recognising the hard work and achievements of New Zealand hospitality professionals.

This year’s sponsors are Cardrona Distillery, Epicure Trading, Estrella Damm, Kenwood, ?ra King, Pead PR and San Pellegrino, whom Cuisine would like to thank and acknowledge for their continued support.

For more information on the Cuisine Top 100, regional breakdowns, full list of awards, and information on viewing the awards online, visit, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


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