Paul Limacher, of Wellington’s Chameleon Restaurant, cooked up, served up and cleaned up at the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards 2016 in Auckland last night.
He took three major awards as the judges honoured him as their Premier Master of Fine Cuisine, as well as winning the Best Beef Dish and the Best Metropolitan Restaurant accolades.
This is by no means the first time that Limacher has been so honoured. He’s collected a range of awards during a career leading several top dining establishments in the capital.
Now chef de cuisine at InterContinental Wellington’s flagship restaurant, Chameleon, Limacher’s triple award-winning dish featured Silver Fern Farms beef tenderloin, mushroom ragout, roast parmesan gnocchi, button onion and asparagus.
The judges said: “This is a very elegant, well-presented and visually appealing dish. Every detail is attended to – lots of rich, savoury smells, a hot plate, lots to look at and flavours to anticipate.
“There is a lot going on in this dish but everything works together harmoniously and the quality of the beef shines through. Gorgeous!”
Daniel Hill, head chef of Pitches Café and Restaurant in Ophir, Central Otago won Best Regional Restaurant and was runner-up as Premier Master of Fine Cuisine.
His dish, Eye of the Mist, featured Silver Fern Farms Reserve eye fillet, beef cheeks and bone marrow.
The judges said: “We thought that this ticked all the boxes for innovation and creativity, with a nod to some classical combinations.
“The location of this remote restaurant enhances the sense of surprise and delight at being presented with such a high standard of dish.”
Geoff Ngan, head chef of Shed 5, Wellington won Best Lamb dish with his cumin gremolata crusted Silver Fern Farms lamb fillet, lamb neck and swede pithivier, honey and mint carrot, broad beans, chèvre croquette in braising liquor.
The judges said the lamb fillet was perfectly cooked and appropriately rested – just pink and very tender. “The cumin gremolata crust really provided an additional depth of flavour, especially when combined with the goat’s cheese croquette.
“While not dominating the plate on presentation, it was clear the lamb fillet was the hero (and main point) of the dish. The lamb neck pithivier was an equally flavoursome support act.”
Greg Piner, Group Chef at Vault 21, Dunedin, won Best Venison dish for his cured Silver Fern Farms venison short loin, trio of mushroom, pickled shiitake, cèpes purée, tempura needle mushrooms, compressed radish, ponzu, black truffle salt, pea tendrils and crispy shallots.
According to the judges, “This was an excellent and innovative way of preparing venison, cured with palm sugar, kaffir lime and cloves.
“The clever presentation in both thin slices and tight cigar rolls meant there were two different textural experiences. The tender slices were freshened by the acidity and saltiness of ponzu dressing. The rolls were a little more dense while still melt-in-the-mouth, and could easily be dipped in the cèpes purée.”