The hospitality industry has spoken and winners of the Restaurant Association of NZ – Felix Awards were announced over the long weekend in Wellington.

In a sold-out event, over 500 of Wellingtons finest celebrated in Great Gatsby style at The Embassy Theatre, paying homage to all that is excellent in Wellington’s hospitality scene.

Shepherd picked up four out of the six awards for which it was nominated, including Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurant.

“The calibre of talent in Wellington is outstanding, and to be voted as the best by your peers is absolutely mind blowing,” said co-owner Sean Golding.

With all categories keenly contested, this year’s winners include former nano-brewery Garage Project who picked up the Outstanding Beer Experience award; eatery and roastery Prefab Café who won in the Outstanding Café category, and Cuba Street favourite Ortega Fish Shack who was awarded Outstanding Front of House Team.

The Wellington region also plays host to some of the best bars in the country, with Hawthorn Lounge taking a triple win in the Outstanding Bartender, Outstanding Cocktail Experience, and Outstanding Ambience & Style categories.

“New Zealand’s capital city is a vibrant culinary playground, with so many talented operators and dedicated hospitality professionals in the region,” said Restaurant Association Chief Executive Marisa Bidois. “We congratulate all the winners on a job well done.”

The Felix Awards, the first of New Zealand’s peer-voted hospitality awards, ran for a number of years and is the benchmark for the industry. After a brief hiatus, the awards were rekindled in 2016 to celebrate the Capital’s culinary prowess and Wellington’s great venues and people.

The Felix Awards were named in honour of Dean Felix Dunlop, a pioneer of pizza, white tablecloths and brunch, and one of the visionaries behind the wonderful Brasserie Flipp.