Auckland’s Botswana Butchery took out the title of Premier Master of Fine Cuisine at the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards, held in Auckland on February 9. The popular waterfront eatery also won awards for Best Beef Dish and Best Metropolitan Restaurant. Executive chef Stuart Rogan, who manages Botswana Butchery in Auckland and Queenstown as well as Auckland’s Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill, impressed judges with his dish: Silver Fern Farms Reserve beef eye fillet, braised short rib with parsley, mustard and horseradish crust, carrot puree, asparagus, whipped garlic and cep jus. Other Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards winners included Palate Restaurant in Hamilton and Salt on The Waterfront in New Plymouth for Best Lamb Dish (joint winners); Pravda Café in Wellington for Best Venison Dish; and Pitches Store in Ophir, Central Otago, for Best Regional. Sixty-two entrants from Kerikeri to Queenstown were narrowed down to twelve finalists, who were re-judged by Kerry Tyack and Tony Adcock, both well-respected critics in the food and beverage industry and experienced judges in national food competitions. One interesting trend was the greater number of venison entries, reflecting a greater use of the meat in chef’s kitchens, “which is a pattern we are also seeing filtering down to home cooks,” says Silver Fern Farms general manager of marketing, Sharon Angus.