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Hunger for NZ’s top tables

Media Release                                                                                                          
18 August 2009


Hunger for NZ’s top tables

Tonight, Wellington restaurant Logan Brown was named the Supreme Winner of the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards, proudly supported by Mercedes-Benz, in one of the toughest competitions yet in the five-year history of the awards.

Owned by renowned restaurateurs and Hunger for the Wild stars Al Brown and Steve Logan, Logan Brown was described by the judges as “a temple of serious dining”.

The pair picked up the award in person at a prestigious gathering for the restaurant industry in Auckland’s St Matthew-in-the-City, along with the other category winners who came from throughout the country.

The Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards is the most authoritative national restaurant competition, setting the benchmark in dining excellence, and within the hospitality industry is regarded as the ultimate award.

Guest international judge, highly regarded food and wine writer Ralph Kyte-Powell of Melbourne, said of Logan Brown: “The dining experience is so seamless, so ‘big occasion’ yet so welcoming, so expert yet so friendly… if I had to select an international flagship for New Zealand cuisine, Logan Brown would be hard to go past.”

Judges were unanimous in their praise for Logan Brown, saying the atmosphere, menu, wine list and service were hard to fault.

Logan Brown was awarded the supreme title out of 39 finalist restaurants judged by 21 leading food experts. It is the fourth time a Wellington restaurant has won the title in the five years the awards have run. Logan Brown also won the Best Smart Dining – Metropolitan category.

Editor of Cuisine, Eric Matthews, says the restaurants set new standards in excellence and innovation this year. “It’s very exciting to see our New Zealand chefs so confident, assured and focused on freshness and quality of produce. They are really putting their own personal signatures on their culinary creations.”

Roger Zagorski, Executive General Manager of Mercedes-Benz, associate sponsor of the awards, says he is truly impressed with the phenomenal dining experiences displayed by the winners this year. “Just as Mercedes-Benz is a leader in design, innovation and engineering,
we see the same qualities at work in the kitchens of our finest restaurants.”

Last year, Wellington’s Matterhorn was Supreme Winner. Martin Bosley’s, also in Wellington, claimed the top award in 2007.

Full details of the winners and finalists in the 2009 Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards are in the September issue of Cuisine, on sale 24 August.

Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Supreme Winner, Category Winners and Runners-Up

Supreme Winner: Logan Brown, Wellington

The judges said: “Their television series casts them as hunting-shooting-fishing Kiwi lads, but the unpretentious pair has made Logan Brown a temple of serious dining that completely captivated our international judge and his dining companions.”

Best Smart Dining – Metropolitan: Logan Brown

Best Smart Dining – Metropolitan Runner-up: Clooney, Auckland

Clooney has become a force to be reckoned with since head chef Des Harris was lured north to Auckland from the Wairarapa. “He provides magical combinations… there’s just enough playful intrigue without losing the integrity of the fine ingredients,” said the judges.

Best Smart Dining – Regional: Bouterey’s at 251, Richmond, Nelson

(A new category)

The judges said: “Matt, believing provenance should be part of every good chef’s training, takes his young kitchen crew out to hand-pick many of the vegetables and herbs from his own garden.” They said the food was “faultless”.

Best Smart Dining – Regional Runner-up: Pacifica, Napier

“Serving delicious and daring food, well complemented by one of the most desirable yet succinct wine lists.”

Best Casual Dining – Metropolitan: Soul Bar & Bistro, Auckland

The judges said: “Head chef Gareth Stewart… is in firm charge of the smart, sweeping menu that never misses a beat.”

Best Casual Dining – Metropolitan Runner-up: Saggio di Vino, Christchurch

“Chef Jean-Michel Poulot’s kitchen provides masterful dishes that are wine-friendly.”

Best Casual Dining – Regional: Hopgood’s Restaurant & Bar, Nelson

“A casual but superbly run restaurant.”

Best Casual Dining – Regional Runner-up: Wendy Campbell’s French Bistro, Martinborough

The judges remarked that Wendy “turns out one perfectly timed dish after another”.

Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: Molten, Mt Eden, Auckland

(A new category)

The judges said “the innovative yet unfussy food draws diners from the neighbourhood and further afield alike.”

Best Winery Restaurant, First Equal: Terrôir at Craggy Range, Hawke’s Bay, and Pegasus Bay Winery Restaurant, Waipara

The judges said about Terrôir at Craggy Range: “Chef Sara Simpson offers a menu that fits the winery well: modern, fresh cuisine with Craggy Range wines in mind.”

The judges said about Pegasus Bay Winery Restaurant: “Understated yet welcoming… the same tender care is obviously lavished on the grounds so it’s no surprise to see the same precision in the restaurant.”


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