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Restaurant Association of New
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Restaurant Association of New
NZ Chefs Association
Hospitality Business

Darren Wright appointed 2019 Nestlé Toque d’Or Chief Judge

Award-winning chef Darren Wright has been appointed as Chief Judge for the country’s top student culinary competition – Nestlé Toque d’Or. Despite his hectic work schedule, Darren said being part of the event is something he couldn’t pass up given that Nestlé Toque d’Or is a highlight on the annual culinary calendar.

“It’s an event that brings together under the ‘one roof’ the country’s top student and trainee culinary and restaurant service stars.

“For over three hours, teams compete against each other in a live kitchen cook off that is both fast paced and frenetic. Nerves are frayed as they battle it out to win the top award.

“It’s an incredible experience where the industry gets to see the next generation of culinary talents before they go on to make names for themselves in the industry both here and overseas.”

Having competed himself in many high profile international culinary competitions, Darren is all too familiar with the high level of commitment required to excel in such an environment.

NZChefs National President and organiser of the event, Hughie Blues, says Darren’s strong international standing and longstanding involvement with Nestlé Toque d’Or made him the standout choice for Chief Judge.

“Darren is a hugely talented and successful chef whose expertise is highly sought after. We are thrilled that he is able to juggle his work and other commitments to take on this role.”

Over the years, Darren and his wife Leanne, have built up two award-winning restaurants including Chillingworth Rd in Christchurch. Darren has been awarded numerous accolades including being named as a Platinum Beef + Lamb NZ Ambassador Chef which carries a lifetime status.

Darren says competing at Nestlé Toque d’Or sets the competitors apart from their industry peers.

“All of the students are chosen to compete because they are talented at what they do. Their involvement in the competition clearly signals to a prospective employer that they are people who have been identified as holding great future potential in what can often be a tough and demanding industry.”

To compete at Nestlé Toque d’Or, the institutes put forward a team of three who, under the guidance of their tutors, spend months in advance preparing for the event. They must perfect a three-course meal for six people and practise delivering each course to three diners and the panel of judges all within a set timeframe.

Nestlé Toque d’Or is New Zealand’s longest running and most prestigious student cookery and food service event. It is held in 17 countries around the world and has launched the careers of several world-famous chefs, including Jamie Oliver.

Organised by NZChefs in conjunction with Nestlé Professional, the event is supported by other top organisations involved in the hospitality industry including: Akaroa Salmon, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Fresh Connection, House of Knives, Moffat and the New Zealand Specialty Cheese Association.

The 29th Nestlé Toque d’Or will be held on Monday 12 August in Auckland. An awards dinner will be held later in the evening where the winning team will be announced.



The post Darren Wright appointed 2019 Nestlé Toque d’Or Chief Judge appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Chef Luke Nguyen leads new culinary experience in Saigon

While many hotels dispatch executive chefs to market with food-obsessed guests, The Reverie Saigon is endeavouring to deepen its guests’ appreciation of the city and its culinary heritage with a fresh approach involving a celebrity chef and an entire day’s exploration of one of Asia’s burgeoning food capitals.

Beginning this June, guests of the hotel are now able to experience six to eight-hour expeditions across the city’s culinary landscape with Luke Nguyen, one of Vietnam’s most talented chefs. Privately guided, the tours will introduce guests to major landmarks, tucked-away street vendors, riverside lunch spots, chic restaurants and also hidden bars and sky-high lounges if that’s your scene.

The Australian-born “MasterChef Vietnam” host, cookbook author, restaurateur and television personality is partnering exclusively with The Reverie Saigon on this in-depth exploration of the vibrant dining destination that is bustling Ho Chi Minh City.

The journey begins in the late afternoon with a glimpse of some of the key landmarks located in the city’s District 1 – such as the 139-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral, the historic Central Post Office and the magnificent colonial French Opera House.

From there, on the menu for the rest of this deep dive into Saigon’s culinary world are:

  • A pitstop for banh mi and Vietnamese coffee at a favourite outpost (or two) of Chef’s
  • A short walking tour of residential back alleyways where communal living still thrives and where delicious home-cooking is served right out of residential kitchens
  • A short boat ride to a popular riverside restaurant for cocktails and small bites at sunset
  • Rooftop drinks and an introduction to an innovative take on street-food dishes at a local eatery that’s hidden in the old market part of Saigon
  • A stroll along Nguyen Hue Boulevard, the city’s popular gathering place, before settling in for dinner with Chef at Vietnam House, his signature restaurant in Vietnam
  • An option to extend the evening (for up to two hours) with an exploration of the city’s nightlife scene by way of an introduction to Chef’s recommended drinking spots, depending on whether you’re partial to hidden bars or rooftop cocktails

Chef Luke’s culinary exploration of Ho Chi Minh City is an optional add-on to The Reverie’s new “Sampling Saigon” foodie package, which invites guests to take in the hotel’s own culinary offerings – including exquisite fine dining Chinese at The Royal Pavilion, or upscale Italian at R&J.

Chef Luke’s tour starts from USD 850 per person, with a minimum of two persons and a maximum of 10. The price includes all food and drinks for the main tour. Post-dinner bar hopping brings the starting price up to USD 1,150, with food and drinks not included for the bars visited after dinner.

For more information, please visit:

The post Chef Luke Nguyen leads new culinary experience in Saigon appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Gareth Stewart to judge Supreme Pie Awards

There is a danger when listening to Gareth Stewart, Nourish Group’s national executive chef, talk about pies that you will end up desperately needing one yourself.

Gareth has just been announced as the 2019 Bakels NZ Supreme Pie Awards celebrity chef judge and he can’t wait to start tasting those pies. “I’m pumped; I’m really looking forward to it.”

“I love the personal touch of a pie. There are the ingredients and recipes that have been handed down for generations that people are really, really proud of. So I’m looking to taste that in the pie and also people’s providence as well.”

Many will remember Gareth from My Kitchen Rules NZ seasons 1 & 2 or maybe his time at Soul Bar & Bistro.

Today Gareth loves the diversity of the 15 restaurants he oversees at Nourish Group, among them Euro, Jervios Steak House, Crab Shack, Shed 5, Pravda Café and Grill, and Soul Bar & Bistro, now owned by the group.

Through his years as a UK-born, London- based chef he took his career heights to Claridges Hotel, Michelin-starred The Greenhouse, and Mews of Mayfair before heading to New Zealand 12 years ago with his Kiwi-born wife.

During that time, pies were never far from his thoughts. They were the food that strengthened his cultural heritage and sustained him from a young age onwards.  And he loved the regional differences in UK from the pie and mash shops of London to the Cornish pasties of the West Country.

“My heritage is I’m half Jamaican and we have a different type of pie called a patty, which is kind of a half pasty, half pie and it’s filled with spicy beef mince with Scotch bonnet chillies. From a very young age I used to eat hundreds of them. I remember going to a party and there were piles of them and I remember parking up next to a pile and working my way through them. Delicious!”

In New Zealand Gareth is serving  up gourmet pies, many feature French cooking techniques such as the duck pithivier – duck confit wrapped in a ball with savoy cabbage and then surrounded by flaky pastry, which is currently on the Euro menu.

“I’ve got an amazing recipe for a pie I used to make at Soul Bar called Steak and Bluff Oyster Pie Charles Dickens.

“You braise off the steak and that goes into the pie mould. The actual lid of the pie has a hole in it so when you bake it nothing comes up, but when the pie comes out of the oven cooked you push the oysters in. The oysters are just warmed and it’s beautiful.

“I love fish pie having grown up in Portsmouth next to the seaside, so seafood is always a big one for me.”

When it comes to judging the Bakels NZ Supreme Pie Awards Gareth says he’s looking for the flavours of New Zealand regions and the personalities behind pies from those places.

“I’m looking forward to tasting the differences and seeing some good pastry.  There is something very honest about a pie and I think that’s what I love about them. They’re very honest. There’s no bullshit behind them.”

The post Gareth Stewart to judge Supreme Pie Awards appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Government drops funding for Accommodation Survey

Hospitality New Zealand is concerned for the future of NZ tourism, following news that MBIE will stop funding for the Commercial Accommodation Monitor – the primary source of crucial data and insights for New Zealand’s number one export earning industry.

According to statements released separately today by Stats NZ and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), funding will cease later this year for the Commercial Accommodation Monitor (CAM), also known as the Accommodation Survey. According to MBIE, the last and final edition of the Accommodation Survey is now expected to be published on 14 November 2019 (featuring data from September 2019).

MBIE and Stats NZ have both stated that funding for the Accommodation Survey will cease due to “significant cost pressures” making it difficult to run on “present funding.”

The monthly CAM reports are currently curated by Stats NZ on behalf of MBIE, as 32 regional reports and a national overview. The CAM reports provide the tourism and hospitality industry with vital data and insights regarding visitor volumes and activity across New Zealand, at national and regional levels, including guest night numbers, capacity, number of establishments and occupancy rates.

On behalf of commercial accommodation members located across New Zealand, Hospitality New Zealand is concerned that defunding this crucial information resource will harm both the hospitality and tourism sectors, and reduce their capacity to work towards a sustainable industry, in line with the Government’s own goals set out in the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy (released earlier this year).

The tourism and hospitality sectors have previously made requests to Government that the Commercial Accommodation Monitor be updated and improved to also include data from peer-to-peer accommodation providers (such as Airbnb and Bookabach). The statement from MBIE released today acknowledged the failure by Government to do so. However, Hospitality New Zealand is extremely concerned by MBIE’s decision to cease funding for this vital resource altogether. This decision has been made by the Government without consultation with relevant tourism and hospitality industry representatives.

In response to the defunding of the Commercial Accommodation Monitor, Hospitality New Zealand COO Julie White commented: “Currently, all commercial accommodation providers nationwide, including hotels, motels, holidays parks and hostels, are required to provide their monthly data to Stats NZ. This information goes towards creating reports that are a vital resource for those accommodation businesses. The hospitality and tourism sector has not been consulted in the Government’s decision to cease funding for this resource that is not only vital to the health of the accommodation sector, but in turn, to New Zealand’s economic growth and health, since tourism is

New Zealand’s number one export earner, contributing over 20 percent of our foreign exchange earnings, and generating over $100 million per day for New Zealand.”

White added: “The data provided in the monthly Accommodation Survey complied by Stats NZ is a crucial insight towards achieving NZ’s key tourism strategies, including but not limited to successfully spreading the tourism dollar out in to our regions, as well as identifying seasonality issues. There are wider ramifications of ending this source of data, that stretch beyond the accommodation sector, including limiting much needed investment in to NZ’s regions.”

In the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy released in May 2019, the Government included better data and insights for the tourism industry as one of its four top priorities for 2019/2020, stating: “Better data and insight, including implementing the Tourism Data Domain Plan, identifying future trends that could impact on the tourism system and coordinate and share data and insight to support the industry.”

Tourism industry shocked by loss of key data source

TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says CAM is not perfect but it is an essential measure of visitor volumes and movements, and changes in accommodation preferences, especially at a local level.

“CAM is an imperfect data set and TIA has been calling for improvements for many years. For instance, it does not include information on peer-to-peer accommodation, such as Airbnb. MBIE and Stats NZ have begun work on concepts for replacing the CAM but the outcomes of this are at least a year away.

“TIA has repeatedly sought assurances that the existing CAM will remain until a new improved model has been tested and implemented.

“It is astonishing that a dispute between two government departments over who should pay has led to the demise of this key insight source.”

Mr Roberts points out that the Government has just released the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy which has, as one of four priorities, providing better data and insight to support the industry.

“This decision flies in the face of that objective. Information is vital so we can track how tourism is contributing to communities across New Zealand. MBIE and Stats NZ must find a way to ensure the Commercial Accommodation Monitor continues until a suitable replacement is in place.”

The post Government drops funding for Accommodation Survey appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Dine at Bayfair opens with eight new restaurants

The second stage of Bayfair Shopping Centre’s NZ$115 million development has been officially unveiled with a formal ceremony welcoming eight new restaurants to an alfresco dining precinct called ‘Dine at Bayfair’.

The opening of this precinct follows the successful stage one opening in December 2018, which provided an expanded retail area and will complement the multi-attraction Timezone that opened in April 2019. The largest cinema complex in the Bay of Plenty, United Cinemas, due to arrive in the next stage of the development.

Dine at Bayfair features eight new restaurants: Burger Burger, Mexico, Nandos, IZAKAI, The Freeport Tavern & Eatery (a Little Creatures collaboration) and Cleaver & Co.

According to Centre Manager Steve Ellingford, “The opening of these new restaurants comes at the ideal time to meet increasing local demand for superior dining and entertainment options for individuals, couples, families and groups of friends, all of whom can now enjoy city-style dining conveniently close to home.

“Bayfair Shopping Centre has existed as a member of the local community for over 30 years, and it is great to be celebrating yet another milestone as we seek to provide the customers and community of Bay of Plenty, with an expanded, fully-integrated shopping centre that leads the way in sustainability and accessibility, and will serve the community for many more years to come.”

The development is being managed by AMP Capital on behalf of centre owners AMP Capital Shopping Centre Fund and Fisher Funds. It will see Bayfair become a fully integrated, single-level, enclosed shopping centre with an expanded footprint of 42,000m² and a further 50 speciality stores.

At the forefront of the development is sustainability, accessibility and giving back to the community, which it has already done through the creation of upwards of 400 construction jobs. On completion, it is estimated that the centre and its retailers will employ more than 1,500 people.

 Development details

  • The development programme includes staged openings. The majority of stores opened late 2018; the final stage will include the opening of the cinema in late 2019 / early 2020.
  • On completion, Bayfair will be a fully integrated, single-level, enclosed shopping centre.
  • The development expands the centre’s footprint by 9,000m² to a total of 42,000m², and adds another 50 specialty stores, including a strong fashion mix new to the centre and the region, for a total of 150 stores.
  • Approximately 1,800 car park spaces, and cycle parking.
  • The Bay of Plenty’s largest cinema complex, United Cinemas, with seven screens, more than 1,300 seats and Dolby Atmos sound system.
  • Integrated alfresco dining precinct to complement the nearby cinema complex, with eight restaurants and casual food eateries including licensed operators.
  • Accessible facilities such as a quiet room and up-to-date family facilities including additional parents’ room.

The post Dine at Bayfair opens with eight new restaurants appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Naumi acquires Queenstown hotel

Naumi Hotels – Singapore-based private hotel owner and operator announced that it is expanding its presence in Australasia with the acquisition of business of The Dairy Private Hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand. The move marks the Group’s first hotel in South Island, following its acquisition of two hotels in Wellington last year.

“We are extremely excited to be expanding our footprint in New Zealand especially Queenstown which outperformed other regions and registered highest growth in hotel occupancy, ADR and RevPar last year. Tourism outlook in Queenstown remains very positive with the government’s investment in tourism infrastructure and destination marketing, fuelled by increasing demand from Australia and Asia,” said Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala, CEO of Naumi Hotels, Australia & New Zealand.

Strategically located in the heart of Queenstown; a mere two-minute walk from the vibrant town centre and 15 minutes’ drive from Queenstown International Airport, The Dairy Private Hotel offers the ultimate in privacy and convenience. In the coming months, the hotel will undergo refurbishment to elevate its design aesthetics and offerings reflective of the Naumi brand. During this period, business is as usual, and the makeover is slated to be completed in Q4 2019.

“At the core of Naumi’s service philosophy is our commitment to deliver exceptional guest experiences through innovative design and personalised service, and I could not imagine a city more apt for us to do this; widely recognised as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown provides the perfect canvas for us to introduce Naumi’s creative flair and intuitive hospitality to travellers coming to this part of the world.” added Chris McIntosh, Chief Operating Officer of Naumi Hotels, Australia & New Zealand.

The addition of Dairy Private Hotel will see the Group own and/or manage six hotels in Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.

The post Naumi acquires Queenstown hotel appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Third restaurant joins Westfield dining venture

Acclaimed restaurateur Nic Watt, together with culinary director chef Darren Johnson have announced their first joint venture Inca, a Peruvian-style eatery, will open at Scentre Group’s $790 million flagship living centre Westfield Newmarket later this year.

Joining the centre’s rooftop dining, lifestyle and entertainment precinct, the pair – who between them have worked at revered restaurants including Nobu and Roka in London, Tokyo’s Park Hyatt, and Huka Lodge and MASU by Nic Watt in NZ – will create a smart casual, South American eatery.

“I first discovered the delights of Peruvian food in 2012, when I went to Peru to study ceviche and antichuchos and I fell in love with the cuisine back then and always had a vision to do something,” explains Inca co-founder and owner Nic Watt.

“There’s a huge Asian influence on food in Peru due to the large Chinese and Japanese immigration. Inca will be about those Latin American-meets-Asian flavours.”

Diners can expect ceviche and Peru’s most popular street food, antichuchos – marinated and barbecued meat – served sizzling from the woodfire. Originally peasant food dating back to the time of the Conquistadors in the Americas in the 16th century, they’ll be cooked at Inca over manuka and coffee charcoal in the two-metre wood-fire hearth.

Authentic gluten-free soft tacos will be made from an imported taco press. Ice-cream aficionados will appreciate a variety of soft-serve options such as salted caramel and churros with cacao soft-serve.

The interior of Inca’s 181sqm premium dining space was inspired by the striking terracottas, pinks and greens of Peru’s Rainbow Mountain. This will be reflected in honest, noble materials such as rammed earth walls, wooden tables and stone flooring. The restaurant will seat 110 diners both inside and out and open from lunch through to dinner.

“Westfield Newmarket will change the marketplace across New Zealand. It will provide a truly high-calibre experience and attract customers from across the country who want to shop, dine and be entertained. Naturally we want to be part of that by bringing a smart-casual, super-tasty dining offer to the table,” he said.

Scentre Group Director Leasing and Retail Solutions and NZ Development, John Papagiannis said: “What we are delivering at Westfield Newmarket is a new benchmark in lifestyle, dining and entertainment.

“Nic Watt and Darren Johnson are synonymous with New Zealand’s burgeoning food scene and two of the best chefs in the country. We’re thrilled to be welcoming Inca to Westfield Newmarket in what will be a must-try experience for our customers,” he said.

Inca is the third retailer to be joining New Zealand’s first rooftop dining, lifestyle and entertainment precinct Rooftop on Broadway, in addition to previously announced White + Wong’s & Sardine Cocktail Bar and Something & Social. Rooftop on Broadway will become a gathering place for the community, offering ten new restaurants and ‘always on’ entertainment with outstanding views of Auckland city.

Due to open in multiple stages later this year, Westfield Newmarket will feature more than 200 stores over five levels, including Auckland’s first David Jones.

The post Third restaurant joins Westfield dining venture appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Excellence in Bed & Breakfast Hosting – Award Winners

Bed & Breakfast Association New Zealand and Vision Insurance have announced Bellbird Lodge, Kaiteriteri, owned by Anthea & Brian Harvey, as the 2019 Supreme B&B Business of the Year.

The Awards Programme celebrates excellence in hospitality in the bed and breakfast and hosted accommodation sector.  They provide a benchmark of excellence and inspiration to other bed and breakfast hosts along with showcasing the best of New Zealand hospitality within the B&B accommodation sector. Rayma Jenkins, President, said “the Awards honour, recognise, encourage and reward our members who are the very best bed and breakfast properties in New Zealand.”

The Bed & Breakfast Association Award programme is made up of three Awards – Supreme B&B Business of the Year, Emerging B&B Business of the year (open to those who have been operating two years or less) and B&B Host of the year.

Supreme B&B Business of Year winners Brian and Anthea care for and about their guests. In their words, “it is not about what we think the guests want but what they actually want”.

2019 Emerging B&B Business of the Year Award Winner is Acacia Heights Gardens, Taupo, owned by Heather & David Bridson.

2019 B&B Host of the Year Award Winner is Morepork Riverside Lodge, Paihia, Barb & Paul Linton.

“The calibre of entries in all categories this year is extremely high, each one deserves the highest praise,” said Rayma.

“A hallmark of a stay in a hosted bed and breakfast is a personalised experience for our guests. There is no one formula for operating and this is certainly true of our entrants.”

The programme is judged by Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts and the Bed and Breakfast Association’s President Rayma Jenkins and Vice President Liz Webster.

More winners include:

  • Supreme B&B Business of the Year 1st Runner Up – Whakaipo Lodge, Taupo
  • Supreme B&B Business of the Year 2nd Runner Up – Morepork Riverside Lodge, Paihia
  • Emerging B&B Business of the Year Highly Commended – Willows Green, Blenheim

The post Excellence in Bed & Breakfast Hosting – Award Winners appeared first on Hospitality Business.

Giving back & sustainability feature At CINZ

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) is increasing its initiatives to ensure MEETINGS 2019 is environmentally and socially sustainable, cutting down on waste and introducing a new give-back theme for day buyers’ lunches.

CINZ Chief Executive, Sue Sullivan says CINZ has a raft of initiatives designed to boost awareness about sustainability and make a big difference to the event’s impact.

“For social good, we are excited to be donating 500 lunches to school children in Auckland with our new initiative to provide Eat My Lunch packs for our day buyers on both days of MEETINGS,” she says.

For every one of the 500 day-buyer lunches served across the two days, CINZ in conjunction with Eat My Lunch will donate a lunch to a Kiwi kid in need.

“The kids receive a lunch that looks and tastes like it is home-made, delivered fresh to their schools in a brown paper bag. At the same time our day buyers will receive their own tasty business lunch in a recyclable brown box to enjoy while networking and listening to the Celebrity Speaker Showcase.”

MEETINGS hosted buyer will receive a reusable water bottle, which they can use during the exhibition and then take home. Reusable coffee cups will also be available. For hosted buyer, exhibitors and media The Kitchen at Sky City is serving lunches, morning and afternoon teas with reusable crockery and cutlery. They partner with both Kiwi Harvest and Kaivolution to donate and recycle any leftover food.

“We are driving all our communication with exhibitors and buyers through the MEETINGS EventsAIR app. To cut down on print waste again this year we’re not printing an exhibition guide, encouraging everyone to go online and to use the app. Tickets to events are not needed this year either, as everyone can use the QR codes on their name badges to identify them at each of the welcome, gala and exhibition venues,” Sue Sullivan says.

Exhibitors are encouraged to take away and recycle everything they have brought for their stands, and to reuse or donate floral arrangements.

The post Giving back & sustainability feature At CINZ appeared first on Hospitality Business.

New Ceo For Antipodes

Antipodes Water Company has appointed Angela Buglass as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

Angela most recently held the position of CEO at Trilogy International Ltd, owners of essential natural products and home fragrance brands: Trilogy, ECOYA and Goodness, consumer brands sold in almost 25 countries around the world.

Angela has had significant executive experience both in New Zealand and overseas. Working with leading companies such as L’Oréal, Estee Lauder Companies and Procter & Gamble.

Chair of Antipodes Water, Shane Lamont, said: “We are delighted that following a robust external appointment process, Angela has joined the NZ based management team. The future strategic growth of Antipodes Water in both the domestic and export markets, will continue to be the focus under Angela’s leadership.

Ms. Buglass commented that she was thrilled to be leading yet another iconic and valuable New Zealand company, taking Antipodes Water to fine establishments around the world.

Antipodes Water comes from a 327m (1000ft) deep pressured aquifer, taking up to 300 years to naturally filter through substrata of ignimbrite, a fine-grained volcanic rock. The precious source is located in Whakatane in the rural Bay of Plenty of New Zealand.

Antipodes world firsts go back over a decade, including the first and only mineral water to have achieved carboNZeroCertTM certification, and the first bottled water to be recognised by the United Nations for environmental practices and responsibility.

The post New Ceo For Antipodes appeared first on Hospitality Business.


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