Waiheke gem makes the cut at 2018 Silver Fern Farm Restaurant Awards

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!

Silver Fern Farms lamb, beef and venison isn’t just available in your local supermarket; this delicious meat is also supplied in many forms to restaurants all over New Zealand. Every year, judges go under the radar to see who is making some innovative dishes with Silver Fern Farms beef, lamb and venison – and the finalists have been announced. And one of them is a restaurant I was lucky enough to judge myself: Archive Bar & Bistro at Mudbrick Vineyard, on Waiheke Island.

The dish, Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Carrot, Sunflower Tahini, Pomegranate, Burnt Red Cabbage and Dukkah, was created by head chef Logan Coath. This gorgeous dish is perfect for autumn; full of flavour and very generous in portion size – good for someone who really does enjoy their meat! It works beautifully when paired with a fruity red wine, but chat to the bar staff if you’re feeling adventurous – they’ve made a cocktail match for this dish which is extremely moreish!

Archive Bar & Bistro is one of 12 finalists chosen from almost 70 entries from leading chefs around NEw Zealand. As judges for this competition, we were looking for dishes that deliver on the expectation of authentic, inspirational and delicious food experiences, using Silver Fern Farms naturally raised, grass-fed red meat. The perfect balance of taste and texture of the red meat and the accompanying ingredients, as well as creativity and presentation of the dishes, separated the best chefs from the rest by the smallest of margins.

Head judges Geoff Scott and Catherine Bell say it was difficult to trim the entrants down to only 12 finalists.
“We are very excited by the positive feedback from the judging team. These highly qualified assessors reported delicious dishes and amazing feats of creativity. What’s more they noted an ever-increasing awareness from chefs of the value of cooking with premium quality red meat, something Silver Fern Farms consistently delivers. Without doubt, this year the competition has been more intense than ever. Choosing category winners and the supreme award-winner from such a talented line-up is going to be even more challenging.”

The judges were especially impressed by the number of outstanding entries in the new Emerging Chef category. The field has been narrowed down to two finalists, Patrick Pope-Moody, Apprentice Chef at Chameleon at the InterContinental and Alexis Vienot, Sous Chef at 180 degrees at the Copthorne, both in Wellington.

Marketing Manager Food Service, Bernie de Bono says she is delighted with the standard of entries this year.
“We are always excited to work with such talented culinary professionals, the Awards bring out the absolute best of their skills. The diversity in the dishes this year is outstanding yet again and chefs have risen to the challenge, creating extraordinary dishes and providing truly memorable experiences for diners.”

Diners can experience the 12 finalist dishes uniquely prepared for the Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards until the end of July 2018 from Waiheke Island to Dunedin. Co-head judges Catherine Bell and Geoff Scott will visit all finalist restaurants during May. Both experts bring a wealth of experience in judging national food competitions and they look forward to applying their experienced palates to judging the finalist

Winners will be announced at an event in Auckland on 7 June 2018, where six category
winners will be revealed and the Chef of the Year and Emerging Chef of the Year

Fancy tasting the Silver Fern Farm finalist dish in your area: The 12 finalists and their dishes are:

The Archive Bar & Bistro at Mudbrick, Waiheke Island
Logan Coath, Head Chef
Slow cooked Silver Fern Farms lamb shoulder, carrot, sunflower tahini, pomegranate, burnt red cabbage and dukkah

White + Wong’s, Auckland
Ashish Bhatnagar, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms BBQ beef short ribs, cauliflower puree, xo wild mushrooms, charred spring onion, garlic shoots, white radish kimchi, whipped garlic, tendon crisps

Palate Restaurant, Hamilton
Mat McLean, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms lamb cutlets, lamb shank moussaka ravioli, eggplant puree, black garlic, minted hollandaise

Victoria Street Bistro, Hamilton
Andrew Clarke, Chef de Cuisine
Pecan Smoked Silver Fern beef cheek, crispy sweetbreads, tendon, sweetcorn, cress and pickles

Mills Reef Winery, Tauranga
Anthony Lawler, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms venison strip-loin, textures of beets, horseradish yoghurt, herbed goats curd

Amayjen – The Restaurant, Feilding
Andrew May, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms tenderloin of venison, burnt onion ash, venison shank & potato pie, roasted beetroots, shallot petals, cranberry gel, venison jus

Chameleon at the InterContinental, Wellington
Paul Limacher, Chef de Cuisine
Silver Fern Farms beef tenderloin, green pea crust, black garlic mash, carrot pickle, shiitake, edamame salad, umami butter

Pravda Café and Grill, Wellington
William Hobby, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms lamb, carrot puree, black garlic, citrus and jus

Noble Rot Wine Bar, Wellington
Punit D’Souza, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms venison Denver leg, osso bucco, parsnip, pear, vanilla onions,preserved stone fruit, confit carrot

Hopgood’s, Nelson
Aaron Ballantyne, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms venison, chestnut polenta, caramelised celeriac, fig & wild mushroom tapenade

Olivers Victoria Store, Clyde
James Waite, Head Chef
Silver Fern Farms roast lamb rump, lamb shoulder spring roll, bok choy, radish, ginger, miso caramel, shitake jus

Vault 21, Dunedin
Greg Piner, Executive Chef
Lime leaf infused sticky Silver Fern Farms Reserve short ribs: textures of mandarin, wasabi potato cake, crispy sea kelp, cashew and ginger slaw

The Emerging Chefs finalists and their dishes are:

180 degrees at the Copthorne, Wellington
Alexis Vienot, Sous Chef
Silver Fern Farms braised lamb shoulder cigar, lamb sweetbread and leek bonbon, organic milk dried lactose, cauliflower and almond, spiced jam

Chameleon at the InterContinental, Wellington
Patrick Pope-Moody, Apprentice Chef
Silver Fern Farms venison short loin, fig, cauliflower & goat curd puree, beetroot, beet kraut, beetroot tile, sorrel