2019 Participants, Nero & Hopgoods & Co

Marlborough & Nelson – Tasman

Plate of Origin Dish: Ora King Salmon lightly smoked, with Cartwheel creamery goats curd and black garlic, tomato salad, miso tomato jam, fried scampi tails finished with tomato and dashi consommé.

Hero Ingredients: (1) Cartwheel Creamery products Pohangina Valley and (2) Ora King Salmon from Nelson


Built in 1918, Nero Restaurant encompasses a stunning Victorian character home with excellent food that leading Head Chef & Owners Scott & Yvette Kennedy are renowned for in Palmerston North. Nero offers warm cosy surroundings in the winter or take time to cool down in summer – dine in our tranquil outdoor alfresco area surrounded by established trees, gardens and pool. Wander through the many French doors; escape to the expansive decking, sample the divine selection of wine. Nero Restaurant won the Food and Beverage – Restaurant category and took out the Manawatu restaurant of the year 2017. 

CHEF | Scott Kennedy

Head Chef Scott Kennedy owns Nero Restaurant with wife Yvette. Scott is a well-known face in the Manawatu restaurant scene having been in the area since he completed his training in the late 80s. Scott has been named a Beef+Lamb Ambassador; this will be Scott’s fourth time as an Ambassador Chef.


Hopgood’s & Co located in the heart of Nelson – was opened in 2005 by Kevin and Jane Hopgood with the aim of presenting modern, seasonally-based bistro-style dishes in a casual and relaxing environment. The restaurant is housed in a heritage-listed premises, formerly known as the Dalgety & Company Ltd Building, which offers a stylish backdrop to the food and wine. The menu at Hopgood’s is deliberately kept short and changes regularly, allowing the kitchen to make the most of the great produce Nelson has on its doorstep.

CHEF | Aaron Ballantyne

Aaron started working in kitchens at the age of 15, washing dishes after school. He fell in love with the kitchen lifestyle and food and decided to pursue cooking as a career. After completing his training in Wellington he spent time working in Japan and Australia before returning home. He has been at Hopgood’s in Nelson for the past 12 years, now as head chef and partner.

Marlborough is about world famous Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s largest winegrowing region, and the soils and enviable climate that create it. It’s about fresh seafood sought by the world’s finest chefs. It’s about diverse landscapes, from valleys of vines to sheltered waterways of the Marlborough Sounds. Indulge in a leisurely lunch at a vineyard restaurant, or join a seafood cruise and pair wine with local produce to create the ultimate match made in Marlborough.

Nelson is a total package of inspiring people and activity within a unique natural environment, a focus on art and artisans and excellence in producing fine wine and craft beer. The culture is mirrored in the exquisite seafood and gourmet meals from a range of restaurants. The famous Nelson Market is the ultimate eclectic experience. Famed for aromatics, chardonnay and pinot noir, Nelson is home to some of NZ’s best wineries who pride themselves on excellence and boutique quality.

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