AMBASSADOR CHEFS for 2018
Each year, Beef + Lamb New Zealand selects a team of chefs who have displayed exceptional culinary skills during the Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards. These chefs become
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ambassadors for the year driving innovation and creativity within the food service sector using New Zealand beef and lamb. As well as receiving special recognition for their achievement, each chef has the opportunity to be part of the Beef + Lamb Ambassador Series, hosting a dinner in their own restaurant to showcase
their achievement to their guests.
Freddie Ponder – tables restaurant, nice hotel
Freddie is 30 years old and has been working in kitchens for 15 years.
Born in London but Kiwi proud, he has recently joined Tables Restaurant in New Plymouth after working at Salt on the Waterfront for 3 and a half years.
With his twin brother Richard as sous chef and the rest of his kitchen team, Freddie has a great playground to be creative and try some awesome beef and lamb dishes.
While working at Salt he achieved some awesome goals; winning Best Lamb Dish 2016 at the Silver Fern Farm Awards and Richard making the finals in 2017.
Freddie feels very privileged to be involved with New Zealand Beef and Lamb and extremely stoked to be an ambassador for 2018.
Damon McGinniss – Emporium Eatery & Bar, art deco Masonic Hotel
Executive Chef Damon McGinniss’ professional background includes establishing and running his own restaurant, three years as Executive Chef at a resort in Wanaka and International work as a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Food Ambassador.
Food has always been Damon’s passion, and this drive led him, at the tender age of 26, to set up Bistro 1284 in Rotorua along with his wife Megan, voted best restaurant in Rotorua for seven years. Damon was also a Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ambassador in 2005 and 2007, and won seven Beef + Lamb Hallmark of Excellence Awards. Damon and his family have lived in Hawke’s Bay for four years and he is currently the Executive Chef at the award winning Art Deco Masonic Hotel including their bustling restaurant Emporium Eatery & Bar.
Harry Williams, Head Chef –Alpha Street Kitchen & Bar
Harry started his 20-year culinary career as a qualified butcher which seeded an appreciation of quality products and a good base for a love of New Zealand meats.
This passion inspired Harry to gain formal training and start in Waikato icons such as Seddon House and Tables on the River before owning his own restaurants in Whitianga.
Now back in the Waikato, Harry has been an integral part of the success of Alpha St Kitchen & Bar in Cambridge’s historic National Hotel. His food is well-known for the best quality ingredients along with bringing in international flavours be it from his Samoan heritage, Asian or European. Each dish is carefully thought out with textures, colours and flavours; every plate has an extra element that provides the diner with a little surprise.
Kate Fay – Cibo Parnell
Kate Fay developed her career with time spent cooking overseas and then in some of Auckland’s great institutions. Kate joined Cibo in 1999, which coincided with the 1st time she was named Beef and Lamb Ambassador. Over time her cooking style has evolved through travel and she has managed to capture a blend of Asian and European flavours, and brings to the plate amazing tastes, colours, flavours and textures. Travelling gives her the scope to envisage new, fresh ideas.
She is inspired by high quality, accessible New Zealand ingredients, and churns out casual yet refined cuisine. Her main objective is to capture the essence of primary ingredients and use combinations that enhance and highlight - sensitive to seasons when products are only at their best.
This year Kate has been awarded the lifetime status of Platinum Ambassador Chef after being named as an Ambassador Chef multiple times during her career. Kate is the first female chef in New Zealand to hold this title and joins eight other chefs around the country who are Platinum Ambassador Chefs.
Alistair Forster – consulting chef, nelson
Alistair was trained in highly disciplined AA rosetted and Michelin-starred kitchens in the UK, gaining great experience and recognition within the industry. This training laid a foundation by which he has developed his craft over the years. With calm perseverance, he continually elevated his skills and those of the staff around him to the highest standards.
Alistair previously owned his own restaurant ‘Forsters Mahana’, set in the stunning Mahana Estates vineyard, where he had previously been executive Chef. During his time running Forsters Mahana Aslistair established an excellent reputation for his creative menus and exacting standards.
Alistair sources the finest and freshest of the produce available regionally and across New Zealand. He prepares dishes in a way to showcase those ingredients and natural flavours. His approach to food is simple: source fresh, local and seasonal produce, treat them with respect, and then apply skill and creativity to deliver unique culinary experiences to our guests…experiences not obtainable anywhere else.’
Moving to New Zealand, in 2009, Alistair has worked at luxury lodges along with consulting to lodges throughout New Zealand along with also working with partners such as Tasman Helicopters with their premium experience offering of the Heli Gourmet product and also previously executive chef at the Rutherford Heritage Hotel. He prides himself with maintaining the same standards in his kitchens today, as those where he was trained.
MEET OUR PLATINUM AMBASSADORS
Nine of the country’s top chefs have been named as lifetime ‘Platinum’ Beef and Lamb Ambassadors. Pictured from the left, they are: Kate Fay from Cibo Parnell, Brenton Low from Whangarei; Rex Morgan from Boulcott Street Bistro, Wellington; Mat McLean from Palate Restaurant, Hamilton; Stephen Barry from Mount Bistro, Mt Manganui; Darren Wright from Chillingworth Road, Christchurch, Shaun Clouston of Logan Brown, Wellington; and Scott Kennedy, Nero Restaurant, Palmerston North; Michael Coughlin, Brand Ambassador for Provenance Meat Co., Dunedin.
These chefs have been awarded the title in recognition of their outstanding achievement in the Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards, having each been named as an Ambassador multiple times during their years of receiving the Award.
These chefs continue to work closely with Beef + Lamb New Zealand to promote New Zealand beef and lamb at various events around the country.
If you have a question for for any of our Platinum Ambassador Chefs or would like to know more, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
2018 ambassador series
DAMON MCGINNISS, EMPORIUM EATERY & BAR, NAPIER, JUNE 23RD
Napier-based Ambassador Chef Damon McGinniss held his Ambassador Series Dinner as part of the Hawke's Bay Winter F.A.W.C! Series. His Grass & Gravel dinner paid homage to the amazing beef and lamb raised on our green New Zealand pastures and the beautifully matched Syrah's grown on the gravelly Hawke's Bay soils. Damon pushed the boundaries using some humble cuts and turning them into five sensational courses. Read more here.
KATE FAY, CIBO PARNELL, 24 MAY
Kate held a magnificent degustation on National Lamb Day and showcased her skill using an amazing array of lamb cuts creating some iconic dishes such as her lamb sausage roll and lamb bacon through to the engaging and theatrical starter of pouring our own lamb-baa-tini. Beef + Lamb New Zealand took this opportunity to announce Kate as Platinum Ambassador Chef, a lifetime status held by only eight other chefs in New Zealand. Kate is the first female chef to become Platinum after a long association with Beef + Lamb New Zealand. You can read more about Kate's dinner here.
FREDDIE PONDER, SALT RESTAURANT NEW PLYMOUTH, MARCH 5th
Freddie Ponder hosted his Ambassador Series Dinner on March 5th, at Salt Restaurant in New Plymouth to a sell out crowd. Each course was a taste sensation using New Zealand beef and lamb and fresh seasonal produce with matching wines. Below is a snap shot of the evening and you can read more about what Freddie served up on our blog here.