Chefs passionate about working with New Zealand beef and lamb are playing their part in showcasing New Zealand's unique food story through the nation's longest running culinary award programme.
2018 marks 22 years of the Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards which have been integral in fostering innovation and creativity among chefs with New Zealand beef and lamb.
In 2017, 158 restaurants were named award holders and with entries open this month there is hope to further grow that number this year.
If restaurants meet the standard once accessed, they are awarded a gold plate which symbolises a high level of cookery, creativity and execution of their beef and lamb cuisine.
In addition to the award itself, each year five chefs who excel during the assessment period are selected as Ambassador Chefs by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, joining the ranks of eight lifetime Platinum Ambassador Chefs who together will work to pass on their skills to the wider industry.
The awards have provided opportunities to strengthen the relationships between the primary producers and restaurants at the coal face, both with the common goal of showcasing top quality New Zealand beef and lamb.
Shaun Clouston, head chef at Logan Brown in Wellington and Beef and Lamb Ambassador Chef, says being involved with the awards has helped him in telling the pasture-to-plate story.
"As well as wanting to constantly raise the bar in terms of the innovation and creativity of the beef and lamb dishes we're cooking, being involved with the awards has given me a deeper understanding of the product and where it comes from.
"At Logan Brown we're very passionate about championing our producers, so much so that we have their faces on the wall in the restaurant. I think passing this story on to our customers is so important and is something they are wanting to hear about now more than ever.”
Applications for the 2018 Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards close on August 31 and recipients will be announced in early December.