The winners of Silver Fern Farms’ Restaurant Awards 2018 were announced with awards for restaurants around the country as well as a hat trick of awards for Nelson’s Hopgood’s & Co.
Aaron Ballantyne, Head Chef at Hopgood’s & Co in Nelson has taken out the title of Chef of the Year in the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018. Ballantyne has the distinction of being the first South Island supreme winner since the Awards began in 2013.
The dish of Silver Fern Farms venison, chestnut polenta, caramelised celeriac, fig and wild mushroom tapenade was described by the judges as “total harmony on a plate”. The generous portion of tenderloin and a crumbed slow cooked neck croquette were cooked to perfection and the venison was the hero of the dish.
To complete the hat trick, Hopgood’s & Co was named the inaugural winner of the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant of the Year Award. The Restaurant of the Year was awarded for creating an ambience conducive to exceptional food experiences for diners through excellent hospitality and attention to detail.
Further north the title of Best Regional Restaurant went to Logan Coath at Archive Bar & Bistro at Mudbrick Vineyard, Waiheke Island. Not only did the judges enjoy the flavour combinations of the dish, a slow cooked Silver Fern Farms lamb shoulder, they felt the warm atmosphere of the restaurant and excellent, attentive wait staff provided a truly memorable experience for diners.
The inaugural winner of the Silver Fern Farms Emerging Chef of the Year is Patrick Pope-Moody, Apprentice Chef, Chameleon Restaurant at the InterContinental Wellington. His dish, Silver Fern Farms venison short loin, fig, cauliflower and goat curd puree, beetroot, beet kraut and beetroot tile with sorrel, was hard to fault and skillfully delivered with perfectly balanced flavours. The new award recognises inspiring new talent and the hard work that goes into becoming a great chef; Pope-Moody will receive a $5000 scholarship to assist with developing his career.