Celebrating Hospitality Excellence
The vibrancy and variety of the Waikato Hospitality scene was never more evident than at the Waikato Hospitality Awards held in August. Wintec’s Atrium was full of glitz and glitter as those who normally deliver the best food and service in our region got to sit down and enjoy a superb dinner from Kerr and Ladbrook while celebrating the depth and breadth of our hospitality scene.
Presented by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, Waikato Food Inc and Lexis ComplyHub, the awards recognise the outstanding hospitality professionals, all of whom are making a positive impact on the local cafe and dining scene.
The People’s Choice award went to Gather Foodhouse in Frankton while ex-owner and chef Ashleigh Brodie also took out Bidfresh Hamilton Outstanding Chef. Hamilton’s barista king Dove Chen, who has held the national title of best barista twice and this year twelfth in the world, was crowned Meadow Fresh Outstanding Barista. Dove said in his acceptance speech it was very special to be recognised in his home town.
Marisa Bidois, CEO Restaurant Association of New Zealand, says, “The youthful and ethnically diverse population of Hamilton is creating a really exciting hospitality scene in Hamilton.
“As an industry it’s so important that we take time out to celebrate our success and acknowledge our achievements. We believe it’s important to shine a light on our industry and make sure we are recognised for the contribution we make to our community and economy.”
Waikato Food Inc Chairperson Mathew Pedley said, “Waikato Food Inc are pleased to finally have an event which celebrates the amazing achievements of Waikato restaurants, bars and cafes and is something we, as an organisation, have been working towards for some time. It is a winning scenario, not only for the local hospitality industry, but for food lovers too.”
Alex Williams from Wonder Horse, who took out Antipodes Outstanding Bartender and Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Bar, thanked everyone involved and the wonderful community being built in our region.
The sentiments of the night were succinctly put by Amy Hodgson from Cinnamon Cafe, winners of Nova Energy Outstanding Suburban/Regional Experience, when she said to thunderous applaud “we love what we do”.
Meadow Fresh Outstanding Barista
Dove Chen, Grey Street Kitchen
Antipodes Outstanding Bartender
Alex Williams, Wonder Horse
The POS People Outstanding Front of House Team
Bidfresh Hamilton Outstanding Chef
Ashleigh Brodie, Gather Foodhouse
The Breeze Waikato 99.4FM Local Food Hero
Gus Tissink, Bidfresh Hamilton
Service Foods Emerging Chef
Harriet Boucher, Mr. Pickles Bar & Eatery
Bidfood Hamilton Outstanding Cafe
The Shack, Raglan
Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Bar
OneMusic Outstanding Ambience & Design
Mr. Pickles Bar & Eatery
Nova Energy Outstanding Suburban/Regional Experience
Burns & Ferrall Outstanding Restaurant
The Recruitment Network Outstanding Caterer
Mavis & Co
Maurice Trapp Group Outstanding Sales Rep
Katrina Frost, Bidfresh Hamilton
Kerr & Ladbrook Outstanding Supplier