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Hāngi ‘Click and Collect’ Style!
A touch of true Kiwi ingenuity has proven popular in Rotorua, with a tourist attraction adding new food options to its menu.
A drive through hāngī is being now offered by Mitai Māori Village. It is offering the drive through hāngī on Friday nights where customers can pre-book and pre-pay online before collecting their meal at a specific time without having to get out of their cars.
The business, which offers a cultural experience and hāngī meal, has been hit hard from the coronavirus pandemic like many other tourism attractions and shut its doors to visitors on March 23.
Business owner Wetini Mitai-Ngatai said his staff were however, keen to work and they wanted to do their best to capture the domestic market.
“We don’t want to sit around here looking like a carving. It’s a new thing for us but everyone’s excited,” he said.
Mitai-Ngatai said the hangi was particularly sought after because it was cooked the traditional way – in the ground, using heat from hāngī stones .
“I enjoy it because it’s a really full-flavoured hāngī.”
Those who have pre-booked on the company’s website are given a pickup time and an area in the village has been created where customers can drive in, turn around, get their hāngī brought out to them and leave.
Mitai Māori Village was also offering free delivery for orders of 10 or more hāngī.
Up next? As a further extension to their business, the village also plans to launch a new food truck business where they will sell paleo and vegan-friendly hāngī from different locations around Rotorua.
Hospitality COVID-19 testing strategy under review
While New Zealand currently has no plans to follow a Western Australia initiative to swab hospitality workers for COVID-19, a Ministry of Health spokesperson told Hospitality Business it continues to review its testing strategy.
Under a new two week programme, welcomed by the Australian Hotels Association (AWA) WA, asymptomatic Western Australian hospitality workers at the frontline of community engagement can receive a swab test for COVID-19 until June 10 under the state’s DETECT snapshot scheme.
Participation is voluntary for those on the list of groups highlighted, including healthcare workers, police staff, meat workers, supermarket and retail staff.
“DETECT Snapshot will see a testing blitz across different cohorts to help us get a better understanding of any COVID-19 that may be in the community and has not been detected,” said WA Health Minister Roger Cook.
“Now is not the time to rest on our laurels and the Snapshot will further improve our understanding of COVID-19 and provide the public with additional confidence that the chances of being exposed to the virus remains low.”
Like New Zealand Western Australia continues to be in the enviable position of having no sustained community transmission and this series of testing will provide a better understanding of any COVID-19 that may be in the community claims the WA Government.
“Hospitality workers are at the frontline of community engagement and broader testing for COVID-19 is an important precondition for further relaxing restrictions and will help our industry move closer to a more extended level of operation,” said AHA WA, CEO, Bradley Woods.
“We understand that in order for more restaurants, bars, pubs and taverns to re-open safely, the State Government needs accurate data and a better understanding of the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.
“With access to more comprehensive data about whether the virus is still in the community, better decisions can be made about how and when we can return to more normal trading conditions.
In New Zealand there are no plans at the moment to test asymptomatic hospitality workers, though the Ministry of Health continues to ‘review and update our sentinel and surveillance strategy as we move forward in Level 2.’
“An updated strategy will be considered by cabinet next week and we anticipate any updates to be publicly available by mid June,” said a Ministry of Health spokesperson.
Today (May 29) marks another day with no new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand, and the number of active cases has reduced to just one.
The Ministry of Health said that the total confirmed and probable cases remained at 1504, – 1154 of which are confirmed, the remainder are probable.
A new case hasn’t been reported for seven days.An additional seven cases have recovered, taking the total number of recovered cases to 1481.
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$1.37 million lifeline welcomed by hospitality associations
A Covid-19 rescue package from the Hospitality Training Trust has been welcomed by both the Hospitality Association of New Zealand and the Restaurant Association.
Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand said the grant was a lifeline for the association and would also be invested in training opportunities for the industry.
“We will use the money to ensure that the association is able to continue to support the industry. As you can imagine with our sector hit as hard as it has been – this has a roll on affect for us as the association supporting the industry.
“At a time when we are most needed for the industry this grant is a lifeline. Our helpline has been extremely busy over the last three months and we will increase capability in the space.
“In addition to this we will also be investing in training for the industry and continue to provide important business support and development.
“During these difficult times its even more important our industry has the specific sector support and this is a huge boost to helping us to continue to provide this important and vital support for the industry.”
Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Julie White said the grant would be a tremendous boost for the association and its members.
“Covid-19 has delivered the worst hit in living memory to hospitality – bars, cafes, restaurants, casinos and accommodation businesses that bring vitality to our towns, and cities, employing 170,000 people across New Zealand.
“We have been doing all we can to support them through this time and with our advocacy, tools, resources and advice – this is essential work that has all put unprecedented pressure on our organisation and resources.”
The Hospitality Industry Trust has said it will help the industry weather the COVID-19 storm with a $1.37 million package for key industry associations.
Trust Chair Bruce Robertson said the hospitality sector in New Zealand was under as much pressure as it had ever faced in its history, so ‘this is the industry helping the industry out.’
“The extra funds will enable them to sustain and bolster their services to keep supporting hospitality businesses to survive and recover,” Robertson said.
“I’d like to think it will be significant in ensuring that the associations are able to retain the capability to deliver the services, benefits, advice and support that their members and non-members need right now, which without the support of the Trust they might not be able to do.”
The Hospitality Training Trust, which normally allocates about $120,000 a year from interest on investments to fund training initiatives, will draw on its reserves for the special grants.
“The trust is about training, skills development, and building resilience and capability in the sector, and in the current situation the best way we can help the sector is through the industry associations’ expertise and reach.
We have built up the Trust’s reserves through good investments and this is our rainy day, so this is the best way we can help the industry weather the storm we are in and continue to build skills and capability.”
The package will be shared by: Hospitality New Zealand, the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, Holiday Parks New Zealand, the Tourism Industry Aotearoa and the New Zealand Chef’s Association — with the individual grants based on membership numbers.
Holiday Parks New Zealand Chief Executive Fergus Brown said the package would shift his association from a precarious position to being able to more actively assist members.
“We have been going through the budgeting process, and had looked at chopping a lot of what we consider to be essential activity so this takes the association out of survival mode and puts us in a position where we can once again be proactive — to ensure we have the capability to help our members stay afloat, and to keep them in profitable, safe businesses,” Brown said.
“We are a small industry funded organisation with limited reserves and the demand on our reserves would have put us in a very precarious position. This will give us the ability to carry on with new vigour.”
The Trust has also announced $76,000 of training grants approved for 2020, awarded to: Renard Group, DINE Academy, YoungTec, Turning Tables, and Vegetables.co.nz & the Heart Foundation.
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900+ hotel workers lose jobs
One of New Zealand’s biggest hotel chains, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, says it has cut hundreds of staff as a result of the effects of Covid-19 on the tourism sector.
The company began closing hotels not long after New Zealand entered level 4 lockdown in March.
It said on Tuesday May 26 that it had been forced to make decisions about its workforce that had affected 70 per cent of its employees.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, it employed over 1300 people at its hotels, chairman Graham McKenzie said.
“We have lost and will be losing many long-serving and very loyal employees as a direct result of this crisis.
“We are sorry to see them go and hopefully we will see some of them again when tourism gets back to more normal levels.”
Half of Millennium & Copthorne’s business had come from overseas before New Zealand’s borders closed, he said.
Business confidence among New Zealand’s hard-hit hotel sector is much bleaker than business confidence in general, according to a recent survey. The New Zealand Hotel Market Sentiment Survey was undertaken by Horwath HTL and Tourism Industry Aotearoa to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting hoteliers’ outlook for the New Zealand hotel market in general and their hotel in particular.
115 hoteliers responded to the survey which was carried out between 30 April and 5 May 2020. Forty-percent of respondent hotels are already fully closed and with little prospect of New Zealand’s borders opening to international visitors any time soon, the outlook for the next two years is bleak.
Seventy-three percent of respondents expect that trading conditions for their hotel in 24 months’ time will have deteriorated compared to 2019.
These results equal a business confidence score for the two year period of -64% (percentage expecting improvement minus percentage expecting deterioration). “This is worse than results reported by the latest ANZ bank business confidence survey, where for the next 12 months, a net 55% of firms expected weaker activity for their own business,” Horwath HTL Director Wim Ruepert says.
“These results come at a time when hotels reported an average occupancy of 14.9% in April. The survey found that 68% of hotels in regional areas are fully closed. In Auckland, where some hotels are being used for quarantine purposes, 20% of hotels are closed.
Only 11% of Queenstown hotels are fully operational with 58% fully closed.” The impact of the pandemic on hotel employees is extremely high with most hotels expecting heavy redundancies when the Government’s wage subsidy scheme ends in June.
“Overall, hoteliers expect to reduce the number of employees by an average of 56%. Job losses in the main visitor destinations are expected to be higher, from 69% for Queenstown hotels to 89% for hotels on the West Coast,” TIA Hotel Sector Manager Sally Attfield says. “Hoteliers have no choice but to let their people go, as they are not expecting to continue receiving Government wage subsidies for the next two or three years until the demand for hotels has recovered.”
Sixty-six percent of hotels expect to make a cash-loss in 2020 (negative operating cash flow) and are calling for ongoing financial assistance from the Government, including a significant budget increase to provide Tourism New Zealand with the required resources to help fill their hotels. For more details from the survey, go to: https://tia.org.nz/assets/2bfd1f7d44/NZ-Hotel-Survey-Draft-WR-10.05.2020-v.2.2.pdf
“Dog tucker” lamb shank voted NZ’s favourite cut
The humble lamb shank has officially been voted New Zealand’s favourite lamb cut in the Great Kiwi Lamb-Off which was run in celebration of National Lamb Day, May 24. Following seven hotly contested rounds – which received a whopping 22,000 votes – the shank was awarded the coveted title.
In the final, shanks received roughly two thirds of the vote against lamb legs to be officially crowned the winner of the Great Kiwi Lamb-Off.
CEO of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Rod Slater – who is a butcher by trade – noted that the shank hasn’t always been held in such high regard.
“In my day, the shank was given away as dog tucker but over the years its popularity has grown so much that it is now New Zealand’s favourite lamb cut. It’s quite the turn around.”
The rise in popularity of the shank can be attributed to chefs and restaurants who have profiled the cut on their menus. Michael Coughlin, a Beef + Lamb Platinum Ambassador Chef who now works as brand ambassador for Provenance Lamb, said that chefs have really put the cut on the map.
“The elevation of the lamb shank has been driven by chefs who have sought out new and creative ways to utilise the whole carcass. Nose-to-tail eating is very much at the heart of the New Zealand food service industry which has seen the shank become a mainstay on many menus up and down the country.
“With the impact of Covid-19 being fully felt by the hospitality sector, we are seeing chefs move to showcase cuts that are suitable for takeaways. The shank very much falls into this category, so if there is ever a time to go and sample the amazing array of lamb shanks on offer it is now.”
The Great Kiwi Lamb-Off saw eight lamb cuts compete for the crown of New Zealand’s favourite. These cuts included legs, cutlets, mince, chops, rump, ribs and fillet along with the eventual winner the shank.
Seafood skills fit for feasts
The Auckland Fish Market Seafood School has partnered with soon to be completed Park Hyatt to offer new seafood cooking classes.
Participants will join international celebrity chef Jonathan Pasion as he teaches how to prepare the ultimate seafood feast, perfect for entertaining guests.
Pasion is Chef de Cuisine at Onemata, the new signature restaurant at the anticipated five-star hotel, Park Hyatt Auckland located on Halsey St at the Wynard Quarter just metres from the Auckland Fish Market.
He will share his passion for seafood, teaching the class how to make three delicious recipes.
Expect to learn tips and tricks from this top-class guest chef during his auditorium demonstration, while enjoying a complimentary beverage. Then get hands-on preparing the demonstrated dishes, with Pasion available to answer any questions you may have. The final stage of the evening is sitting down together to enjoy the meal that has been created.
Maui native, Pasion, began his culinary career early on, influenced by his Filipino heritage and their love and respect for quality and traditions. He has many fond memories of learning and understanding home cooking with his family in Paia. Pasion’s Filipino roots have embellished all aspects of his life, including his cooking style.
Pasion joined Hyatt in 2014 as a cook and has since progressed as the Chef de Cuisine at Andaz Maui’s Ka’ana Kitchen, one of the most popular restaurants on Maui, before joining the Park Hyatt Auckland team in 2019. With a wealth of experience and passion, he was also crowned winner of The Good Taste Series, an annual global contest that aims to cultivate and celebrate cultural diversity within Hyatt.
Jacob’s Creek releases alcohol-free range ‘Unvined’
As a leading global wine brand, Jacob’s Creek has always offered quality wines with great varietal expression. Their history of winemaking innovation dates back over 170 years, and their wines are always crafted with the consumers’ tastes at the forefront of the winemakers’ mind.
As consumers increasingly look for more options when it comes to wine as well as alcohol content, Jacob’s Creek have produced a range of alcohol-free wines with no more than 0.5% alcohol by volume, perfect for wine lovers looking for alternatives to enjoy during social moments.
Available in Rose, Shiraz and Sparkling, the Unvined range also has 50% less calories than regular wine of the same varietal, catering to the growing number of consumers looking for more options to suit their preferences.
The Unvined range from Jacob’s Creek has been created using quality grapes and modern winemaking techniques where the alcohol has been gently removed, ensuring the true wine character is retained making it a great tasting option for those looking for a well-balanced wine without the alcohol or the calories.
Featuring a distinctive new pack illustrating stunning flora and fauna, this elegant range is available in New Zealand now at leading liquor retailers and supermarkets at an RRP of NZD $16.99.
For more information on the Unvined range visit https://www.jacobscreek.com/en-nz.
Enjoy Jacob’s Creek responsibly.
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Enter Golden Chef’s Hat Award
THE FUTURE IS WHAT WE MAKE IT
This year looks very different for everyone on many fronts and the impacts of these challenging times are being felt closely in the New Zealand hospitality industry. But the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award is standing by the young chef community and is excited to continue its support with a reimagined virtual competition for 2020.
The Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award has a 55-year legacy in Australia as the most credible culinary competition for young chefs, offering them the chance to elevate their professional development and employment prospects. This year introduces a new trans-Tasman element, with the competition launching here in New Zealand to support even more chefs.
Key details for the 2020 competition:
- Enter as an individual chef
- Submit a 3-min video showcasing an epic dish
- 12 regional winning chefs from New Zealand and Australia selected
- Plus 6 video category awards
- Top 12 chefs compete in the grand finals (details to be announced)
- 1 chef crowned Chef of the Year and awarded a $10KAUD cash prize
- Cash prizes at every stage, with the overall winner receiving $10K!
“There are a vast amount of people hurting in the industry right now and now, more than ever, is the time young Kiwi chefs need our support,” says Mark Clayton, Nestlé Professional Executive Chef.
“The reimagined format will still offer young chefs the chance to keep elevating their skills and be a part of the supportive community that is foodservice.”
This is a great opportunity for young New Zealand chefs to make connections, elevate their skills and shape their future as chefs.
Chefs can get involved at enter.nestle-goldenchefs.com.au
Full details, including age criteria, on this year’s Golden Chef’s at nestleprofessional.com.au/Golden-Chefs
If you think you can create a dish to wow the judges, go for it!
Entries close Monday 29 June (close time 11:59 pm AEDT).
Potatoes New Zealand calls for import limits to prevent swamp
Potatoes New Zealand is asking the New Zealand government to give urgent consideration to imposing short-term measures limiting the importation into New Zealand of heavily discounted frozen potato chips to avoid a food security threat. This follows the Australian Potato Industry’s move to do the same.
New Zealand potato growers supply approximately 85% of the domestic market. A large proportion of potato chips (fries) are consumed in hospitality business, itself a vast industry which employs large numbers of people across the country. These venues have been closed for 2 months during Covid-19 Level 3 & 4 restrictions and even at Level 2, we are seeing partial openings and some smaller businesses (up to 25%) will close permanently. This has flattened the sales for NZ processed potatoes and fresh potatoes.
Globally, the disruption of supply chains, and particularly sales to hospitality, by virtue of COVID-19 restrictions has led to the complete collapse of potato prices in major production centres, in particular the European Union (EU). This will shortly lead to extraordinary price reductions in frozen potato chips from the EU. It’s expected that a similar collapse will be seen in other parts of the northern hemisphere, in particular in North America. The EU currently have approximately 2.6 million tonnes surplus frozen fries.
If urgent steps are not put in place to prevent it, New Zealand is likely to be swamped by imports of frozen potato chips at those extraordinary prices. That, together with the existing impact of the current pandemic will in turn cause the New Zealand potato-growing and potato-processing industries to suffer severe and prolonged damage. This may lead to potato growers planting alternate crops and in turn lead to a shortage of New Zealand grown potatoes, which given New Zealand’s reliance on potatoes as a source of food, will represent a serious risks to food security.
As an example of intervention in an individual European country, the Dutch Government is formulating a funding programme earmarking €50 million to support potato growers who are confronted with a surplus of potatoes due to the decline in demand. Growers with a surplus will be able to offer these to a scheme which will then absorb the potatoes and pay the growers approx. €50 – €60 per tonne. Without that intervention the open market price would likely have been no more than €10 per tonne, as opposed to the usual price of €150 per tonne. We have concerns about how this scheme can be effectively policed, and accordingly fear that many of the potatoes captured by this scheme may be procured by European processors at almost no value, converted into finished product and dumped into the Australasian market.
In the meantime, New Zealand producers of frozen potato chips have built significant stock levels and are already having to deal with an oversupply of raw potatoes. As a result contracts with farmers for future potato production will be for reduced volumes, and at lower prices.
Local processors may also have to make decisions around temporary closure of production facilities to deal with those increasing stock levels, with vastly reduced demand. The range of remedial action they will be considering will include shift reductions, temporary plant closures and potentially significant redundancies. As we exit the nationwide New Zealand lockdown, the local market for frozen potato chips will be extremely competitive, even without the added pressure of below-cost imports landing here.
Like other sectors of the economy, every opportunity should be provided for the potato industry to recover from the financial devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies must be able to clear their inventories built up during the lockdown period and increase production to reduce their daily overhead recovery losses. Neither of those will happen if there is a huge surge in imports of frozen potato chips.
That can only happen if local demand is first and foremost met through the supply of locally produced potato chips. Achieving that outcome will require some level of government intervention to dampen imports for a limited period of time.
NZ Potato Industry Fast Facts:
- The NZ potato industry value is just over $1 billion dollars per annum
- NZ processed potatoes account for 55% of NZ potato industry value
- 85% of all fries eaten in NZ are NZ fries
- 15% of fries consumed in NZ are imported
- ½ NZ fries produced are exported = $100 million
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National Lamb Day – this Sunday May 24!
New Zealand lamb has come a very long way since the first shipment of frozen lamb left Port Chalmers bound for the UK in 1882. After a 98-day voyage it arrived in London on May 24th (aka #NationalLambDay) and New Zealand lamb’s export market was successfully established. The industry hopes Kiwis here and around the world will celebrate by enjoying lamb on National Lamb Day on 24 May.
Beef & Lamb Food Service Manager, Lisa Moloney was curious to know how lamb has evolved in New Zealand’s foodservice industry over the years and spoke to Beef + Lamb New Zealand Platinum Ambassador Chef, Michael Coughlin. Michael has been serving New Zealand lamb in restaurants for more than thirty years and in his current role as chef advisor for Provenance Lamb, he is now at the forefront of the gate to plate story which today’s chefs and their customers are eager to hear.
When Michael started his cooking career, he said the only Spring Lamb that was available to chefs was frozen, pre-cut export grade lamb destined for the European Market. It was mainly racks from the middle of the saddle which were not Frenched or whole legs. This meant that chefs needed to sharpen up their butchery skills or have a good relationship with their local butcher to trim down the cuts for their menus. Slow cuts such as lamb shanks and lamb necks were still seen as dog tucker and it was all about the French Rack or traditional roast on restaurant menus. Some years later the likes of Gourmet Direct started up which gave chefs more of a variety with vacuum packed individual cuts. This opened up creativity for chefs and by the early-eighties the Lamb Cuisine Awards were introduced by Beef + Lamb New Zealand to entice and reward chefs for having creative lamb dishes on their menu.
Michael says that even from his early days as a chef New Zealand lamb seemed to capture an audience but its story was a stand-alone one, all about the dish and its taste. He says now it’s entirely different with not just one defined story but a multi-layered range of stories from gate to plate. If you drill down the story is actually everything underneath the final protein served on the plate. It’s about the breeding, farming practices and the creativity of chefs who like to use everything from nose to tail. For chefs it’s not just about meat and three veg anymore but a very fine-tuned approach to honouring the protein on the plate and the story of where it comes from.
The new generation of chefs are into foraging, sustainability and giving customers the story behind their produce. Customers want to know the meals they are eating are created from ethically sourced produce and that their protein is coming from farms where sustainability and regenerative farming are front of mind. This is nothing new to New Zealand lamb farmers who have been putting best practice to the test for many years. However, they are a humble bunch who are a little shy to tell their story but now the chefs are discovering their unique product, they are able to share the farmers’ passion and tell their story which begins behind the farm gate.
With the huge rise in social media activity, chefs have become experts at photographing and posting their creations across their social platforms. It’s not just enough to post beautiful food shots, but chefs know they need to tag their suppliers and know their story as customers will be watching with keen interest as to where their beautifully plated produce comes from and the story behind it. In turn this partnership between producer and chef is shared on social media to a very wide audience which benefits both of their businesses. The food story no longer just exists on the plate, but goes out around the world through social media, taking producers and suppliers with it.
Michael is seeing this new generation of chefs embracing and learning about the farming practices that are being used to create the exceptional flavour and texture that New Zealand lamb is renowned for. He says Merino was the main focus for a long time and was the secret breed which offered a different dining experience with a unique texture and flavour profile. Now it’s not necessarily the breed of lamb making a point of difference but what the lambs are eating. It’s about the grass and how it is grown combined with the selected and right breed which is adding to the flavour and texture of lamb.
While it may be difficult for consumers to differentiate the flavour profile between the different breeds, he likens it to tasting fine wine. The more you taste and learn about the grapes and what soil they are grown in the more you will recognise the different flavours and profiles. The same can be said for lamb and this is where the chefs can pick and choose their products depending on the farms the lambs are grown on.
Michael is seeing more chefs requesting the whole carcass so they can break it down themselves to use all the cuts and give their customers a nose to tail dining experience. Offal cuts are still popular but are demanding a higher price point due to the low levels of product available. There has also been a change in the mind set of chefs using frozen product when the fresh supply changes. Michael says the new blast freezing process is an excellent way for chefs to have access to lamb product year-round. While some chefs would not consider using frozen lamb he says the process is now robust and locks in the integrity of the lamb. The key for chefs is in the defrosting of the product – slowly over a period of two days in the chiller will produce an excellent product which is still tender and full of flavour for service.
So for chefs out there looking for good quality and consistent lamb product to grace their menus, Michael says the most important piece of advice would be to learn the story behind the product. Find out where the lamb comes from, how it is farmed and how the grass is grown. Look for the passion at the farm gate which will transpire into a unique and delicious lamb product with an interesting story to tell customers and boast about on social media.
Source: Beef & Lamb New Zealand.
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