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The only nationwide restaurant awards programme of its kind, the New Zealand Cuisine Good Food Awards identify and celebrate the very best dining experiences the country has to offer each year.
The restaurants that made it into Cuisine’s top 100 for 2018 will be celebrating the coveted accolade of being included in the annual Cuisine Good Food Guide.
At the October 2018 awards night, Auckland restaurant Cocoro took the top accolade as Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year, with chef and co-owner Makoto Tokuyama being fêted for his sophisticated and inspiring Japanese food. Famed for using only the freshest sustainable seafood, the restaurant also earned three coveted hats.
“This team gets our highest honour in 2018,” said Kerry Tyack, lead assessor of the Cuisine Good Food Awards 2018. “With it comes our respect and our appreciation for a job being done quietly yet superbly.”
Santa Vittoria Chef of the Year Giulio Sturla was lauded for his skill balancing intense flavours that truly respect premium ingredients. “Giulio has so many layers to his work. Through his authentic and clever food, through his mentoring and continuous support of his team, through the telling of the New Zealand food story within his organisation Eat New Zealand and through his never-ending push to learn and to teach and to be excellent. We are so proud to be able to shine a well-deserved light on Giulio Sturla this year.”
With competition for the top awards being so intense, it’s remarkable that one chef should take out two of the major gongs. The ingenuity and sheer imagination of Vaughan Mabee of Amisfield Bistro was recognised for the second year running with the Ōra King Salmon Innovation Award, and his dish, The Paua Pie, won the Whitestone Cheese Best NZ Dish.
Also demonstrating a wide-ranging talent, two of Auckland chef’s Sid Sahrawat’s stable of restaurants were awarded two hats this year, with Cassia winning the Best Metropolitan Restaurant.
Not only applauding the newest, hottest spots, Wellington’s abiding favourite fine-diner Logan Brown was applauded, winning the Pead PR New Zealand Long-Term Player award for their commitment to consistently serving up elegance and pure class.
At the other end of the longevity spectrum the spotlight turned on up-and-coming chef Monique Fiso, about to launch her restaurant Hiakai, which celebrates Māori cuisine and indigenous ingredients.
“Transcending trends while remaining the hallmark of success are the twin features of quality and consistency. Our hat and category winners this year deliver both. They have shown a sure-footedness, a confidence that survives and grows without need of gimmicks or extreme positioning,” Kerry Tyack said.
The theme of ‘Pure and Premium New Zealand’ carried throughout the night, from the food by Lizzie Pearson of Urban Gourmet to the sheer array of Kiwi talent that gathered to hear the likes of Auckland’s Cassia, Gemmayze St and Depot and Hamilton’s Palate restaurants take out well-deserved awards. Also gathering major accolades were Elephant Hill in Hawke’s Bay and Wellington’s Noble Rot and Charley Noble.
Wellington restaurants took three of the top honours and five went to Auckland, with the rest going to teams in Hamilton, Hawke’s Bay, Canterbury and Central Otago.
More information can be found at: cuisine.co.nz/good-food-awards