Mystery judges choose Central food finalists

Nov 04, 2022

After a month of tasting by mystery judges, the finalists for each category of the Eat.Taste.Central regional menu (E.T.C.) were announced yesterday (Nov 3). 

The finalists from the Regional Menu categories will now have their dish judged by the final judging panel over the next few days. The overall category winners and inaugural Premium Plate award will be announced on Tuesday 15 November at a Tourism Central Otago operator event and E.T.C.prizegiving, to be held at the Cloudy Bay Shed near Cromwell.

“For the first time, we sent out mystery judges to select the Regional Menu finalists, giving each venue equal opportunity to progress to the final judging panel,” E.T.C. Campaign Lead Anthony Longman said. 

“Our mystery judges helped shortlist the finalists, who will now prepare their dishes again for the judging panel. They will be looking at the quality of the dish, use of local produce and regional story alongside the EAT principles of Execution, Appearance and Taste to select a winner. The finalists are spread across the entire district of Central Otago, which is testament to the quality of the food offering and experiences to be had here.”

The finalists for the regional menu categories are:

Main Meal

Royalburn Lamb Tartare – The Cloudy Bay Shed, Cromwell

Slow Braised Beef Rib – Mt Difficulty Cellar Door & Restaurant, Bannockburn

Reverse Seared Provenance Lamb Rump & Gnocchi – Centennial Court, Alexandra 

Provenance Lamb Loin – Pitches Store, Ophir 

Fare Game Venison Osso Bucco – Carrick Winery & Restaurant, Bannockburn.

Eat.taste.central on Instagram



Duck a la Orange Pie – Royal Hotel, Naseby 

Beef Cheek & Blue Cheese Pie – Pitches Store, Ophir

Rabbit Pithivier – Carrick Winery & Restaurant 

Chicken Pie on a Plate –  Packing Shed Café, Earnscleugh.


Burger & Sandwich

Cardrona Baa burger – Burger Afloat, Cromwell 

Beetroot & Feta Burger – Dunstan House Café, Clyde

Putting the Spring into Burgers – Prospectors Gourmet Burgers, Cromwell

The Central Smashburger – Buffalos American Food Co, Cromwell.


The finalists for the E.T.C People and Business Awards are: 

Front of House: 

Jane Morton – Waipiata Country Hotel, Waipiata

Paul Greaves – Prospectors Gourmet Burgers, Cromwell

Paula Moore – Buffalos American Food Co, Cromwell

Gillian Wilson – Carrick Winery & Restaurant, Bannockburn.


Young Talent: 

Sarah MacMillian – Waipiata Country Hotel, Waipiata

Sam Farr – Alexandra District Club, Alexandra

Ashleigh Cleland – Carrick Winery & Restaurant, Bannockburn.


Chef / Cook

Susan Goodwin – Pitches Store, Ophir

Gwen Harvie – Carrick Winery & Restaurant, Bannockburn

Harry Bonning-Snook – The Cloudy Bay Shed, Cromwell

Alex Moore – Buffalos American Food Co., Cromwell

Sam Farr – Alexandra District Club, Alexandra

Tracey Greaves – Prospectors Gourmet Burgers, Cromwell.



Coffee and Burger Afloat, Cromwell

Carrick Winery & Restaurant, Bannockburn

Waipiata Country Hotel, Waipiata.


The Premium Plates selected from Regional Menu submissions are: 

Premium Plates

Carrick Winery & Restaurant – Rabbit Pithivier

The Cloudy Bay Shed – Lamb Tartare

Mt Difficulty Cellar Door & Restaurant – Slow Braised Beef Rib

Royal Hotel – Provenance Butterfly Lamb Steak.


Main image (Supplied/Tourism Central Otago | James Jubb): Dunstan House Café, Beetroot and Feta Burger.

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