Call for chefs to claim excellence
Applications are now open for the 2016 Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards, also marking the twentieth year of the programme. The nation’s longest running culinary awards recognise the skill, expertise and talent of outstanding chefs who consistently deliver great New Zealand beef and lamb dishes to their customers. Open to restaurants serving beef and lamb on their menus, culinary trained experts will anonymously assess each restaurant twice based on presentation, taste, degree of cooking and the overall appeal of the dishes. Restaurants who achieve the Award will be presented with a gold plate honouring the chef’s culinary craft with restaurants which have received the Award time and time again, testimony to the timelessness of beef and lamb dishes. For Michael Turner, owner of Cafe Valentino in Christchurch, losing his existing premises in the 2011 earthquake prevented him from entering the Awards that year. Having entered the Awards each year since their inception, a blank space appears between the walls of his new premises lined with 18 years of Excellence Awards and signed memorabilia, which he rescued from his existing restaurant in the earthquake red zone. Michael explains it’s important for his customers to know only excellent beef and lamb will be served at his restaurant. “It’s about reaching a standard and telling people about it. When customers come in they want to be reassured and the wall of gold plates is a sign of milestones reached and leaves customers in no doubt that there is something competent going on in the kitchen. It’s a sign of quality,” says Michael. “New Zealand beef and lamb is a core dish on our menu and always has been. Tourists come in and expect good beef and lamb, they want to know the providence of the product and knowing we have the Beef and Lamb Excellence Award is a guarantee that they will experience quality product.” Applications are open until 31st July 2015 and restaurant assessing begins on August 1st through to the end of October. This year gold plate recipients will be announced on December 1st. For an application visit nzexcellenceawards.co.nz or call 0800 733 466.