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Restaurant Association of New
NZ Chefs Association
Hospitality Business

Record 20 gold medals for Villa Maria Estate


Villa Maria Founder and CEO Sir George Fistonich

Villa Maria has achieved unprecedented success at the New Zealand International Wine Show receiving 20 gold medals. The medal haul spans a large range of wine varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Arneis, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Malbec, Bordeaux blend, and a dessert wine.

Villa Maria Founder and CEO Sir George Fistonich said a result like this, for a single wine company is unheard of. “To be awarded 20 gold medals is testament to the quality and consistency we achieve relentlessly. Our winemaking teams meticulously focus on quality in all areas and these results reinforce our unique ability to deliver exceptional wines across multiple price points, varieties and regions,” he said.

The New Zealand International Wine show is the country’s largest wine show, with over 2050 wines entered, from countries including Australia, Argentina, Chile, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, USA, Taiwan and Israel. The world renowned show organised by Kingsley Wood of First Glass Wines of Auckland, has a judging panel of experts which includes leading winemakers, several Masters of Wine and many key industry personnel overseen by Chief Judge Bob Campbell, MW.

Trophy announcements will be made at the awards dinner on Saturday 1 October 2016.

Villa Maria’s Gold medal results:
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Arneis 2015
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Organic Sauvignon 2016
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Gewurztraminer 2016
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2014
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2015
Villa Maria Reserve Gisborne Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2015
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2015
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2014
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Malbec 2013
Villa Maria Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot 2015
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Braided Gravels Organic Merlot 2013
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2015

The post Record 20 gold medals for Villa Maria Estate appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Dion Wai wins New Zealand Sommelier of the Year and a trip to Champagne

rsz_dionwaisommYoung talent from the north and the deep south took top prizes in blind tastings, theory and practical assessments at this year’s New Zealand Sommelier of the Year Awards held at the New Zealand School of Food and Wine in Auckland.

The overall winner was 26 year old Dion Wai who works full time at Baduzzi in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter. He wins return flights to Paris and a hosted trip at Champagne Louis Roederer in the Champagne region.

“We opened up this year’s Sommelier of the Year Award to any age whereas previously it was for people aged over 30 years. The reason for the change is to acknowledge the growth of young talent in the New Zealand hospitality scene right now,” says Celia Hay, chair of the New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association.

‘The calibre of people entering under 30 years was extremely high. The competition included four women, which reflects the growing interest amongst women in pursuing careers in professional wine service.

At Baduzzi, Dion works under respected Auckland restaurateur Michael Dearth who also owns The Grove. Dion is currently finishing his degree in hospitality management at AUT and is also in the Court of Master Sommeliers certification programme.

‘The Junior Sommelier of the Year, sponsored by Misha’s Vineyard, was won by Richard King from the Hilton in Queenstown. Richard has been actively competing in competitions since 2014,’ says Hay.

The annual competition is held under the direction of Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas and is a highlight of the New Zealand School of Food and Wine’s annual W&F Wine and Food Celebration. The Awards were announced at a special dinner prepared by students of the New Zealand School of Food and Wine and featured the Northern Thai cuisine of Chef Lek of Saan Restaurant.

The W&F Celebration is now in its third year and attracts leading New Zealand wineries and international wine importers along with international wine experts and guest chefs presenting masterclasses. The next W&F Celebration will be held in September 2017.

The finalists in the Sommelier of the Year Competition are required to taste six wines which have their identities concealed, including international wines. They also sit a theory exam and the finalist perform practical wine service in front of four judges where they must open and pour a bottle of Louis Roederer Champagne, open wine under cork and answer a series of challenging questions during the practical service.

The Sommelier of the Year Competition is sponsord by Champagne Louis Roederer, Misha’s Vineyard from Central Otago and the New Zealand School of Food & Wine.

The post Dion Wai wins New Zealand Sommelier of the Year and a trip to Champagne appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Project Botanicals back by popular demand


Image by Anna Kidman

The world’s number one premium gin brand Bombay Sapphire is bringing distinctly different pop up bar and restaurant, Project Botanicals back to Auckland after a sell-out debut last year.

The two week pop-up is led by Bombay Sapphire’s Chief Mixologist Chase Bickerton and renowned fine dining Chef, Michael Meredith who have teamed up to take guests on a journey to discover the 10 exotic botanicals found inside the famous blue bottle.

Together they have created a unique menu of 10 cocktails and dishes inspired by the botanicals within Bombay Sapphire’s vapour infused gin.

Each cocktail has been designed around one of Bombay Sapphire’s 10 exotic botanicals and paired with a dish to complement these flavours.

Project Botanicals will be open for two weeks only from Wednesday 9 November to Sunday 20 November, at 5 Galatos Street with sittings at 6.30pm and 8.30pm Wednesday to Saturday and 6pm and 8pm Sunday.

Tickets cost $55 and include 2 cocktails and 2 dishes and will be available from from 05 October 2016.

The post Project Botanicals back by popular demand appeared first on Hospitality Business.



Kiwis are recognising the health and taste benefits of venison and are starting to see it as a year-round option. They’re also becoming more adventurous with how they cook it, according to Duncan Venison, which has  reported a surge in demand from consumers and professional chefs in the run up to spring and summer.

The company is selling considerable quantities of venison to restaurants and home cooks per week, with no sign of sales slowing down as the warmer weather approaches. This includes the “Bistro Fillet from Pāmu Farms,” a tender, pan ready cut that was developed earlier this year, and is now on the menu at restaurants such as The Sugar Club, Sails Restaurant, The French Café, Paris Butter, and Clooney.

Since the 1st July launch, sales of Bistro Fillet have exceeded budgeted volumes by over 50 per cent with a number of restaurants still to change over to their spring menu.

“In the past, there was this misconception that venison was gamey and hard to cook. People also thought that venison was a winter or autumn dish, best paired with a heavier mash or berry sauce,” explains Vinnie Duncan, co-owner of Duncan Venison.

“That attitude is changing. Consumers and chefs are realising that it actually has a very delicate taste, and doesn’t require much effort in the kitchen. They are also starting to understand that it’s a nutritious, sustainable meat that is grown and available all year round. We’re seeing a lot of creative spring dishes on menus – from venison salads to carpaccio’s and risottos.”

Vinnie believes that on-going innovation and education is key to making venison more appealing and accessible to both restaurants and home cooks.

The post VENISON SALES SET TO SOAR appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Niki Bezzant appointed Ambassador for Garden to Table


Niki Bezzant – Garden to Table Ambassador

Niki Bezzant, well-known health and nutrition commentator and editor-in-chief of NZ’s top-selling food magazine, Healthy Food Guide, has been announced as an Ambassador for Garden to Table.

Ms Bezzant is passionate about finding sustainable solutions to our childhood obesity crisis, with New Zealand ranked the third most obese country in the OECD. One in nine children in New Zealand is obese (11 per cent) – about 85,000. A further 22 per cent are overweight – about 170,000.

“The recent report from the World Health Organisation Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity is a blueprint for what we need to do. One of the things it emphasises is the importance of food education in the curriculum of formal child-care settings or institutions,” says Ms Bezzant.

Garden to Table is one of a number of non-government groups who are taking action. Their curriculum-integrated programme is offered in primary and intermediate schools and provides children with the knowledge and skills to grow, harvest, prepare and share good food.

“It’s an exciting programme that takes a long-term, sustainable approach to food education,” Ms Bezzant says. “It provides children with an opportunity to work in the garden and kitchen and shows them where good food comes from, how to grow it, and then how to cook and share it. I am proud to be an Ambassador.”

Catherine Bell is Chair and a founding trustee of Garden to Table. She is delighted that Ms Bezzant is supporting the programme. “Niki is well known for her sensible approach to food and nutrition, and she understands what we are aiming to achieve with Garden to Table. Her contribution will be of great value, and we are looking forward to welcoming her as an Ambassador.”

Ms Bezzant is the second Ambassador to be announced for Garden to Table, joining chef, author and restauranteur Al Brown.

The post Niki Bezzant appointed Ambassador for Garden to Table appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Gate to Plate

prison-1-610wOne of the sell-out successes of the annual Visa Wellington on a Plate (VWOAP) has been the Rimutaka Prison Gate to Plate, where a team of prisoner-cooks, trained by local industry chefs, prepare a three-course dinner for guests. The dishes, plus canapes, are served by prisoner-waiters, also trained for the event, and the standard is as high as in any fine-dining restaurant.

Chef Martin Bosley initiated the idea four years ago; it’s part of the Department of Corrections aim to train prisoners so they leave prison with qualifications, and confidence to face their new lives. Some of the prisoner/cooks trained in previous years have since been placed on Release to Work schemes in kitchens outside the prison, and are working really well, says Bosley. He encourages more restaurants and cafes to offer such positions.

prison-6-610w“This is something I am passionate about. The more we can spread the word about reducing re-offending through employment the better.”

This year, chefs Chetan Pangam (One80 Restaurant) and Amy Gillies (Salty Pidgin), joined Bosley at the prison.

“We sat down with the men, discussed angles and their interests. Four years ago we made an elementary start. Last year we got into fermentation and curing meats. This year we made our own chorizo; air-dryed, lightly smoked and steamed. We also made a black and yellow tortellini dish, the guys wanted that colour for the Hurricanes. The guys are self-motivated, they work long days on top of their normal kitchen duties,” said Bosley.

The post Gate to Plate appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Callebaut Food Sculpting competition winners




Komal Narayan placed first in the competition, taking home $2,000 worth of patisserie ingredients, courtesy of Reso Products.

AUT Pâtisserie students, Komal Narayan and Anushka Dias took top honours at the Callebaut Food Sculpting Competition held at the Chocolate & Coffee Show, which wowed the crowds at The Cloud waterfront venue in Auckland recently.

The students’ winning cakes, decided by public vote, were inspired by the change of the seasons, with spring-influenced design and flavours. Sandringham resident Komal Narayan placed first in the competition, taking home $2,000 worth of patisserie ingredients, courtesy of Reso Products. Anushka Dias, who resides in Hillsborough, came in second, winning $1,000 worth of ingredients.

Both students are enrolled in the Diploma in Patisserie, Year 2, with the money raised through the public voting going to the Assistance Dogs Trust New Zealand.


Placed second by popular vote, Anushka Dias won $1000 worth of ingredients.



The post Callebaut Food Sculpting competition winners appeared first on Hospitality Business.

The Bay Hospitality Awards are here

rsz_1bop_awardsThe inaugural Bay Hospitality Awards are here celebrating the Hospitality Industry in the region and saluting hospitality excellence. Organised by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, the Bay Hospitality Awards will follow a successful formula used in other regions around the country.

“The Bay Hospitality Awards are all about honouring the heroes in hospitality by promoting excellence in the industry. It is the chance for hospo colleagues to celebrate together and recognise their own”, says Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association of NZ.

“We are very excited to be bringing these awards to the Bay region, the benefits of a peer recognition awards programme that celebrates dedication and excellence not only draws our industry closer but also raises aspirations and performance in the region” Ms Bidois concludes.

The event has attracted important support already, with local and national category sponsors signing up to be part of the inaugural event including Pernod Ricard, Goodman Fielder, Independent Liquor, Bidvest Tauranga, Moana New Zealand, OneMusic, Menumate Point of Sale, Gilmours Tauranga, Spark Business and Mills Reef Winery.

Bay Hospitality Awards Chairman and Restaurant Association Bay of Plenty branch president Andrew Targett, (also local business owner of Elizabeth Café & Larder), adds “We are grateful to our sponsors for believing in the event and in the Bay hospitality industry as a whole. As a region that attracts enormous numbers of visitors it is essential that the level of service and what we have on offer here is of a high standard. We believe that, over time the Bay Hospitality Awards can only enhance our local and visitor experience”.

The 2016 Bay Hospitality Awards Categories includes:

  • Pernod Ricard Outstanding Bar
  • Goodman Fielder Outstanding Barista
  • Independent Liquor Outstanding Bartender
  • Outstanding Café
  • Outstanding Caterer
  • Bidvest Tauranga Outstanding Chef
  • Moana New Zealand Emerging Talent
  • OneMusic Outstanding Design/Ambiance
  • Menumate Point of Sale Outstanding Front of House
  • Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding New Venue
  • Gilmours Tauranga Outstanding Restaurant
  • Spark Business Outstanding Sales Representative
  • Outstanding Street Food
  • Mills Reef Winery People’s Choice Award

People and businesses in the hospitality industry will be asked to nominate individuals and establishments in the Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Papamoa regions.  The top three in each category will make the final round of voting.  All members of the industry will then be asked to vote for one of the three finalists in each category and the person or establishment that receives the most votes in their category will be announced as the winner at the awards evening held at Mills Reef Winery on Sunday, 27th November 2016.

Nominations are now open with voting available online for hospitality industry workers, owners, suppliers and sales reps to the industry.  The Bay of Plenty general public are also able to vote for their favourite establishment in the Mills Reef Winery People’s Choice Award category.

The post The Bay Hospitality Awards are here appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Taste 2016 set to explode


Taste of Auckland 2016: Be part of the country’s biggest food and wine celebration.

Get your taste buds ready – Taste of Auckland 2016 will be a wild, wonderful ride for lovers of great food, wine and beverages, brought to the adorning dining public by some of our best chefs, producers and global culinary luminaries too.

In partnership with Electrolux, this year’s Taste offers a stunning line-up of world-class chefs and restaurants, live cooking demonstrations from culinary superstars, one-on-one chef opportunities and special VIP and hospitality experiences – showcasing the best New Zealand made products from over 100 fine food producers, wine makers, distilleries and craft brewers.

Top Auckland restaurants will bring together international flavours, from a mix of old favs – Farina, Euro and FISH and with debuts from Paris Butter, Tok Tok, Artwok, Miss Clawdy and Ima restaurant.

Leading chefs Gareth Stewart (Euro, FISH), Nick Honeyman (Paris Butter) and Andrew Mackle (Al Brown’s Depot Eatery) will front their ‘restaurants’ and Neil Perry’s Qantas Rockpool Team will turn the Qantas VIP Lounge into a hub of culinary greatness.  Brew Street pairs with award winning cheese maker Kapiti Cheese, ‘Meet the Brewer’ talks happen throughout and innovation boils over at the TSB Bank Producers Market.

The Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets gives restaurant aficionados the opportunity to get up close and personal, cooking and dining with leading chefs such as Kyle Street (of the soon to be opened, Culprit) and Megan May (Little Bird Organics). There’ll be free live cooking demonstrations in the Electrolux Taste Theatre, from top chefs including culinary superstar Peter Gordon and the Qantas Rockpool Team.

A special celebration of New Zealand legend Peter Gordon will be held in the Hospitality Marquee on the 30th anniversary of the original restaurant The Sugar Club opening in Wellington. And if you want more – there the ‘Culinary and Innovation’ themed Opening Night Gala and the Viva Champagne Lunch.

Taste of Auckland 17-20 November at Western Springs.  Tickets are on sale now, visit for more info.

The post Taste 2016 set to explode appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Prancing Pony claims top beer award

rsz_india-red-aleSouth Australia’s Prancing Pony Brewery has won the pinnacle of awards at the International Beer Challenge (IBC) in London, with its India Red Ale crowned Supreme Champion Beer.

The India Red Ale was first awarded a gold medal, then the Trophy for Best Ale, before beating all the category winners to be named Supreme Champion Beer.

“It’s almost unbelievable that we have won the champion of the champions’ trophy for our India Red Ale. To be entering beers into an international competition and winning gold is spectacular but to see in print that our beer is considered ‘a world’s best’ is quite another thing. We are totally honoured and at the same time humbled by this experience,” Prancing Pony’s CEO Corinna Steeb told Beer & Brewer.

“Our customers tell us over and over again that the India Red is something special and we tend to agree. It’s a combination of getting the perfect hop flavour combinations together with a wonderful mix of malts that makes the India Red wonderfully balanced so even at 7.9 per cent ABV, this beer is very easy to drink and leaves long and lingering flavours.

“And just like our customers, the judges commented on the balance and harmony of flavours in this beer saying that it left a memorable taste impression even after tasting many other excellent beers.”

The IBC judges were impressed by the beer’s balance and bold but approachable flavours, which were ‘memorable enough to stand out in a field of very powerful, punchy beers’.

“It was evident from the judging that the standard was exceptionally high this year, because on several of the rounds I observed judges working on they really struggled to find a winner because the level was so high, and that carried forward to the trophy judging at the end of the day, where it was extremely difficult to separate the beers. I am certain we found a worthy Supreme Champion,” said Jeff Evans, IBC chairman.

Another big Aussie winner was Hawkers Beer, which was named Supreme Champion Brewery. While none of Hawkers’ five entries won a trophy, their average score was the highest in the competition.

The IBC attracts entries from more than 30 countries around the globe and from esteemed breweries like Weihenstephan (Germany), Deschutes (USA) and BrewDog (Scotland).

IBC judges include retailers, importers, publicans, brewers, writers and flavour analysts from the UK.

“This has well and truly put South Australian craft beer on the map and is true recognition for our totally hands-on approach to brewing,” says Steeb.

The post Prancing Pony claims top beer award appeared first on Hospitality Business.


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