2018 Participants, Amayjen The Restaurant partnering with Gatherings



Plate of Origin Dish: Saffron Tortellini filled with Kaikoura Cheese Company’s fromage blanc, Limeston Hills burgundy truffles and Feilding DownUnder Kamahi Bush honey accompanied by textures of beetroot, courgette, liquorice and a hazelnut tuille

Hero Products: Feilding’s DownUnder Kamahi Bush honey and Limestone Hills burgundy truffles from Waipara Valley


Amayjen opened its doors in 2014 in Feilding, after transforming an old tyre shop into a fine dining restaurant, with original polished floors and two separate private dining rooms. Amayjen emphasises on flavour and exquisite presentation. Amayjen serves playful and evocative dishes using fresh local and seasonal produce when and where possible. Wine and beer is matched with all main dishes.

CHEF | Andrew May

Andrew has many years experience working in hospitality and brings a wealth of expert knowledge and skill to the Amayjen kitchen. Andrew is a former Scottish Chef of the Year winner, earning the immensely prestigious Award in 2009/2010 along with many other awards.


This plant-based restaurant serves contemporary dishes showcasing seasonal vegetables from Canterbury.

The menu is modern bistro style with a set daily menu offering five courses providing a taste of the Mainland.

Sustainability is important to the Gatherings team. The furniture is hand made from recycled timbers, and the plates and crockery come from artisans throughout New Zealand.

CHEF | Alex Davies

Photo: Daniela Aebli Photography

Alex grew up in London where his parents instilled in him a sense of environmental activism and awareness of conscious consumption.

He moved to New Zealand in 2005 and enrolled in a chef course to make friends. His time at Pacifica in Napier under head chef Jeremy Rameka was particularly influential.

In 2017, Alex opened plant-based restaurant Gatherings in Christchurch. It focuses on sustainable, local and seasonal cuisine that highlights the connection between what we eat and the planet we live on.

Gatherings showcases Alex’s innovative and progressive style of cooking and is a way to communicate the taste of Canterbury. Just months after opening, Gatherings won the Best New Metropolitan Restaurant in the Cuisine Good Food Awards.

Alex spent a year working on an organic vegetable farm in Canterbury gathering philosophy and ideas while working directly with the plants and the farmers. He’s a passionate advocate for people learning where their food comes from.


In Canterbury, there exists a place where the climate is perfect for food to grow and plants to flourish. Better yet, the range of produce from the area is rich and varied – seafood, game, truffles, fruit – and it’s all in one region. Eating a meal or drinking a glass of wine is like tasting the area itself.  The creation of dishes with ingredients sourced from one region tells a story that ties the place together. There is a knowledge and familiarity that those in the region have with their surroundings. They know the best times to pick, to plant and to hunt. They know where the food has come from, how it has been produced, and through this, present an opportunity to have a connection to what you eat.

In our modern world, people are starting to appreciate the idea of slowing down, and the value that can be found in knowing where your food is sourced.  There’s a lot to be said for eating fresh food that is seasonal, within a reasonable distance from where you live, from the land, river and oceans that surround you. There is no better place, and no greater a variety and scope of fresh produce in one region, than in Canterbury. There is an incredible array of food that can be gathered from the seashore, mountains, estuaries, ocean, hills, orchards, roadsides and farms.


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