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Nero and Cibo win 2018 Plate of Origin

Owner and chef of Nero, Scott Kennedy and chef Kate Fay of Cibo in Auckland, have been named the winners of this year’s national Plate of Origin competition. 

The winning dish was announced in the latest edition of Cuisine Magazine, which will hit shop shelves this coming Monday (April 9). 

Kennedy and Fay teamed up to create a mouth-watering dish featuring Kahuterawa Angus sirloin from Manawatu, flavours of Te Matuku oysters from Waiheke Island, crisp beef tendons, heirloom tomatoes and sticky beef bonbon. 

“We wanted to ensure the winning dish not only reflected the hero ingredients and skills that the visiting chef brings to the table, but that it also remained true to the local restaurant and its core customers,” said Kelli Brett, Cuisine Magazine editor and one half of the judging panel.  

“This year’s winning dish did all of this and more, being innovative and creative while also reflecting and respecting the philosophy and culture at the heart of Nero,” she said.  

This is the third annual Plate of Origin competition, which is also judged by the Universal College of Learning chef-lecturer, Mark Smith. The competition is run by the Central Economic Development Agency as part of New Zealand AgriFood Week, in collaboration with Cuisine Magazine. 

While Plate of Origin is hosted in Manawatu, the competition is designed to showcase the country’s top chefs, restaurants and finest produce, on a national stage. This is achieved by allocating each participating Manawatu restaurant a region in which they must find a partnering restaurant. This year, a key requirement was for each dish to feature a product that’s specifically produced or grown in each of the partnering regions.  

 “What excites us at Cuisine magazine most about Plate of Origin is the collaborative spirit that is the heart of this competition,” Brett said. 

“Hearing stories from chefs and restaurant owners about the opportunity to learn from one another and develop lasting relationships that build a stronger New Zealand hospitality network is inspiring.”  

For Scott Kennedy, who has a string of other accolades to his name, winning the competition is a highlight for Nero as well as Manawatu. Both Kennedy and Fay are also Beef + Lamb Platinum Ambassadors. 

 “We are really chuffed. It is a hard competition to win because of all the variables with ingredients and different chefs and to get a win is fantastic,” he said. “It is great for Nero to be showcased in a national magazine, as well as Manawatu.”  

 “Seeing the excitement generated by the dishes as they are presented at participating restaurants in Palmerston North and Feilding is a credit to the team at CEDA. It is an impressive concept,” said Kelli Brett. 

 The other three top scoring dishes and restaurants are featured in the Cuisine Magazine article. 

Other participating restaurants in Palmerston North and their partners include: 

Aberdeen and Palate, Waikato
Table 188 and Mount Bistro, Bay of Plenty
The Fat Farmer and Meat & Liquor, Taranaki
La Patio Cafe and White Swan, Wellington/ Wairarapa
Amayjen and Gatherings, Christchurch
Nosh and Bracken in Dunedin 

Wharerata also held a one-off showcase dinner featuring Nelson-Tasman 



Clean sweep for Amayjen and Arbour! 2017

The 2017 Plate of Origin competition has been taken out by Amayjen from Feilding and Arbour from Marlborough – they have taken a clean sweep after winning the People’s Choice competition as well.

Plate of Origin in association with FoodHQ and supported by Cuisine and Visa Wellington On a Plate, is a national food competition that highlights the finest New Zealand food offerings involving ten regions and twenty restaurants. The competition ensures all entered dishes feature two hero ingredients that represent the chosen region.

2017 marks the second year the competition has been run and was hosted across the wider Manawatu region as part of the New Zealand AgriFood Investment Week (13-18 March). Amayjen chef and owner, Andrew May says he and his wife Jenni and the entire team are over the moon with the win.

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The Ora King Experience


A fish with some fabulous features makes Ora King salmon a perfect premium product to use in Plate of Origin. Although a reasonably new brand, Ora King has a long and fascinating tale to tell of how this fish variety has gained global recognition.

The top of the South Island is the hub for this kiwi culinary treasure and Arbour and Jimmy Cook’s have teamed up to feature it as a key ingredient in their Marlborough dish. With decades of research and trials, the Ora King salmon team have developed methods of farming their fish that best replicate the natural life cycles of salmon. King salmon eggs destined to produce Ora King salmon are nurtured in the crystal clear waters flowing from Te Waikoropupu Springs at the hatchery in Takaka. With an average of 14,000 litres of fresh water bubbling to the surface every second, the waters of this region have been verified as some of the clearest waters in the world, an ideal beginning to the life cycle for Ora King salmon.

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Roaring Raukumara


Raukumara Red owner Adam Finlayson has a job of great responsibility – bringing a taste of the wild East Coast bush of the Raukumara ranges to the plates of restaurants all of over the country. Adam and the team at Raukumara Red have turned a passion and a hobby into a worthwhile business supplying wild venison.

The Raukumara Red Venison is a favourite at Bay of Plenty restaurant, Harbourside, where Head Chef Cam Ward will be highlighting it in his partnership with Dean Harris, Head Chef at La Patio, for their Plate of Origin dish. Cam ensures Raukumara Venison makes a regular appearance on the menu of Harbourside, saying “We use Raukumara Venison firstly for the quality and consistency of the product, and secondly for their holistic production methods which fits with our desire to use local producers wherever possible”.

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Merino Lamb – beyond the wool

A unique product with a very exclusive supply, Cardrona Merino lamb is bringing the pride of the high country in the south to Plate of Origin. Nosh and Bracken Restaurant will be using Cardrona Merino lamb as one of their hero Otago ingredients in their Plate of Origin dish and will be paired with Bracken Larder Quince Puree – a hard to beat combo.

Merino lamb is nothing like your regular chop. The sheep are grazed on the high country in the south, on a diet of mainly native grasses. The combination of a unique diet and the terrain the sheep are run on, results in a texture and composition of meat far different to what you’d expect from your average lamb.

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Cilantro Goat’s Cheese


One of the hero ingredients in the Plate of Origin 2016 dish by Chim Choo Ree and The Strong Room is Cilantro Cheese, and although it’s a small business it sure stands tall with it’s unique design and taste. 

The brainchild of Jenny and Monica, Cilantro Cheese is the what happens when you combine two scientists and a gift of cheese making kit for Christmas! Specialising in goat and sheep’s milk cheeses, the duo were both working at AgResearch until seven years ago, when circumstances meant less time at work and more time getting out the cheese-making gift Jenny had received for Christmas.

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