Bay Of Islands, New Zealand

IT’S a tough old world when you discover the building your top end restaurant is in also happens to be an alleged brothel. The building owners are now taking court action to stop prostitution related activities above Clooney in Auckland’s central Sale Street. The building owner also claims the alleged brothel was creating a nuisance and that prostitutes were approaching restaurant patrons. Unfortunately the judge was of the opinion it wasn’t serious enough to warrant an injunction.

AMONGST the hottest restaurant designers in recent years, Tom Skyring, has a warrant out for his arrest but apparently is out of the country. The bankrupted 52-year-old Skyring is accused by the IRD of evading the assessment or payment of GST and income tax totaling over $850,000. For some years his name was associated with some of the top restaurant designs in the country.

AN attractive young Aussie kitchenhand was being troubled by a fellow worker who started a rumour he had sex with her. In denying it, the young girl just wasn’t believed. Instead she gave up and said “yeah it was really bad and he accidentally shouted his Mum’s name …”

OUR industry didn’t do too well in the New Year honours this time around. We could only pass on our congratulations to Darren Wright in Christchurch who picked up a gong for services to the community and Wellington’s Rachel Taulelei for services to the food and hospitality industry.

AND there is good news up north where one of the world’s best restaurants has signed a franchise deal with the new Bay of Islands waterfront retreat Helena Bay. The name of the three Michelin star Don Alfonso 1890, a 125 year old acclaimed Italian restaurant, will now appear in New Zealand and is said to bring a whole new level of dining to this country. One of Don Alfonso’s chefs, Michael Martino, is now on staff at the restaurant.

MY doctor is threatening me with a prostate examination and I recall a mate of mine who had one recently. After the doctor left, the nurse shut the door and whispered those three words that no man wants to hear: “Who was that ?”

STILL having a laugh from dinner the other night where a new to the country Irish young lady didn’t know what was on the specials menu but raced back to tell us “and there is a turd of a crayfish …” That accent just doesn’t work on some dishes.

IT’S interesting that there is increasing criticism overseas about reviewers who have clearly got a kickback from restaurants they write about. Not surprisingly, I also suspect it’s happening here where high ratings are attributed to less than salubrious properties. We struck one recently that got nine and a half stars out of ten. Our own recent experience was an absolute shocker both in food and service. I just wish people with no culinary skills or experience would stay away from being a critic of things they know nothing about.

CATERING has its down side. My better half Tania was on an Aer Lingus recently when the hostie announced a shortfall in the catering with only enough meals for 40 of the 120 passengers. To make up for it, she was offering free drinks for the rest of the flight to anyone who would give up a meal. Two hours later she announced she still had 40 meals available.