Silver Fern Farms has announced a new format restaurant awards with new categories, new judges and a new season showcasing autumn red meat dishes in 2018.

The 2018 Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards build on the success of the Premier Selection Awards, the refreshed format will see restaurants showcasing their skill and expertise with red meat at the end of the summer dining season. In another positive change, the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards will recognise the talent of emerging chefs with a new category for chefs with less than five years’ experience.

The judging panel will be led by two new head judges, Catherine Bell and Geoff Scott. Catherine Bell is an experienced food competition judge, having been involved with the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards for many years. Geoff Scott is a well-known New Zealand chef who has himself taken part in the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards.

The competition opens for entries in mid-January 2018, with a select group of chefs from across New Zealand being invited to create original dishes using cuts from Silver Fern Farms extensive range of beef, lamb and venison.

Silver Fern Farms General Manager Marketing, Sharon Angus, is excited about the changes to one of New Zealand’s most prestigious restaurant competitions, particularly the Emerging Chef category.

“We know that young and upcoming chefs have great creativity and are not afraid to experiment to create extraordinary results,” said Angus. “We want to give them the opportunity to demonstrate these skills as they compete against more established chefs.”

Twelve finalists will be selected to proceed to the finalist round of judging, where Catherine and Geoff will co-judge all finalist dishes

Kiwi diners will be able to sample the dishes on the menus at participating restaurants during the judging period from 8 March to 12 April 2018. The 12 finalists will feature their creations until the end of July.

The Silver Fern Farm Restaurant Awards categories will be:

  • Best Chef
  • Best Restaurant
  • Best Regional Restaurant
  • Best Beef dish
  • Best Lamb dish
  • Best Venison dish
  • Best Emerging Chef