Cromwell serves up tasty fare as Eat.Taste.Central winners confirmed

Nov 15, 2022

A burger served up from a boat, a pie filled with a paddock pest, and some premium lamb delivered raw on purpose are among the top dishes that wowed judges at this year's annual Central Otago food awards.

The winners of all the 2022 Eat.Taste.Central categories have been announced this evening, and the awards presented at a special event held at the Cloudy Bay Shed in Cromwell.

A three-person judging panel visited all the venues and tasted all 13 of the Regional Menu finalists over two days to select the eventual winners in the four dish categories.

So, who served up the tastiest dishes this year:

  • Main Meal: Pitches Store, Ophir - Provenance Lamb Loin
  • Burger and Sandwich: Burger Afloat, Cromwell – Cardrona Baa Burger
  • Pie: Carrick Winery & Restaurant, Bannockburn – Rabbit Pithier
  • Premium Plate: The Cloudy Bay Shed, Cromwell – Lamb Tartare

Meanwhile, the winners of the E.T.C Judges Awards for People and Businesses are: 

  • Front of House: Paula Moore, Buffalo’s American Food Co. Cromwell
  • Young Talent: Ashleigh Cleland, Carrick Winery & Restaurant, Bannockburn
  • Chef/Cook: Harry Bonning-Snook, The Cloudy Bay Shed, Cromwell
  • Highly Commended: Susan Goodwin, Pitches Store, Ophir
  • Sustainability and Innovation: Coffee & Burger Afloat, Cromwell

 Lillian McHugh of event partner MiNDFOOD, was on the judging panel.

“Each of the winning dishes is a stand-out and deserves to be recognised for its celebration of Central Otago’s world of flavour," she says in a statement released to media today announcing the winners.

“The Provenance Lamb Loin at Pitches Store was elevated to the next level with the innovative touch of adding freeze-dried local honeycomb. Burger Afloat heroed a number of local flavours and produce in their Cardrona Baa Burger, creating a balanced, fresh flavoursome burger for the shores of Lake Dunstan, and Carrick Winery and Restaurant chef Gwen’s twist on a pie with house made pastry, encasing a flavoursome combination of rabbit and herbs, truly captured life in Central Otago in a dish.”  

In a new category this year, the inaugural Premium Plate Award went to Harry Bonning-Snook at The Cloudy Bay Shed. His Royalburn Lamb Tartare used local produce from every corner of the region and from each of the seasons to sing the Central Otago story. The refinement, flavour and pairing displayed the best of Central Otago in a dish that was beautifully presented and worthy of this award.

“Whether someone is visiting a cellar door, dining at a  restaurant, country hotel or café, or visiting a farmers’ market, we want our locals and visitors to find local Central Otago flavours to tempt their tastebuds,” E.T.C campaign manager Antz Longman says.

“Together we can really showcase our unique world of flavour and support our local producers and growers at the same time.” 

Jolanda Foale, a co-owner of Burger Afloat, told Crux she's "stoked" to be recognised in the awards for the second year running, both for her team's burgers and its efforts to run a sustainable business.

"We couldn't have done it without our wonderful local suppliers and beautiful Central Otago produce, and of course our incredible team. We also thank our fellow competitors and Tourism Central Otago for providing the platform for everyone to champion and celebrate Central Otago - the true winner today."

Image (Tourism Central Otago/James Jubb): Eat.Taste.Central 2022 Award Winners Burger Afloat, Cromwell

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