Lifestyle

A ‘testament of resilience’: 2021 Hospitality Awards winners announced


Despite the hospitality industry taking a tough blow from the Covid-19 pandemic, resilience and determination have shone through at this year’s hospitality awards.

The best of Canterbury’s hospitality venues was celebrated at the much awaited 2021 Canterbury Hospitality Awards on Sunday, after being postponed due to the Delta outbreak.

Presented by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, it saw over 20 awards given out to the people and businesses which have kept the hospitality industry humming this year.

Among them were vibrant cocktail bar gin gin, which boasts hundreds of different types of high quality, locally-sourced gin and a seasonal menu, located on New Regents St.

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Earlier this year gin gin owner Luke Dawkins said last year’s lockdown cost the business almost 40 per cent of its revenue.

The bar initially opened on Victoria St in 2018, but the lockdown forced it to find new premises, while it also lost half of its staff.

It went dormant for about six months in 2020 to undergo a complete and costly – but necessary – re-vamp, Dawkins said, telling Stuff previously it would be necessary to “come out stronger to survive”.

“We knew we needed to stand out from the crowd to be able to have a shot at becoming a business that could move forward from the disruptions of Covid,” he said.

5th Street took home two awards, voted for outstanding restaurant and best front of house team. (File photo)

Joseph Johnson/Stuff/Stuff

5th Street took home two awards, voted for outstanding restaurant and best front of house team. (File photo)

After emerging through another set of Covid-19 restrictions this year, which the Restaurant Association predicted would slash revenue to 40 to 60 per cent, gin gin found itself with four awards, including the best new establishment and outstanding bar.

Chef Jackson Melhopt was also voted best emerging chef, while Cory Evans, from The Last Word just a few metres away, won the title for best bartender.

Gatherings, an environmentally conscious restaurant boasting local and seasonally focused seafood and plant-based food, saw its chef Finbar McArthy take home the outstanding chef award.

Fumihiko Takai of Espresso Studio, who didn’t know he was nominated last year until a customer told him, was awarded best barista for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, 5th Street took home two awards for outstanding restaurant and best front of house team, and ever-popular Smoky T’s won people’s choice once again, plus the award for outstanding street food and takeout.

Fumihiko Takai of Espresso Studio by Riverside market was awarded best barista for the second year in a row. (File photo)

STACY SQUIRES/STUFF/Stuff

Fumihiko Takai of Espresso Studio by Riverside market was awarded best barista for the second year in a row. (File photo)

The awards acknowledged those who were making a positive impact on the local cafe, dining and drinking scene, and represented “the best of the best in the region”, Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said.

“The way they have been able to maintain these incredible standards in dining is testament to their resilience.”

She said it was great to see Canterbury’s hospitality scene connecting with its customers after grappling with the Delta outbreak, and the association continued to support businesses owners and future leaders of the industry.

Child Sister took an award once again, this time for outstanding cafe. (File photo)

Staff Photographer/Stuff

Child Sister took an award once again, this time for outstanding cafe. (File photo)

“The awards give us an opportunity to promote the local hospitality community, bringing people together to recognise our achievements in what continue to be challenging times.

“It is more important than ever to connect and celebrate one another’s success.”

Supported by Trents Wholesale, the event was due to take place on November 1 but was postponed for 20 days.

Other awards included outstanding cafe, awarded to Child Sister, which took out the outstanding café award last year, outstanding ethnic restaurant, awarded to Bar Yoku, best ambience and design to Austin Club, outstanding regional establishment to Black Estate Winery, and best wine and beverage list to Cellar Door, which took home four awards last year.

Canterbury Hospitality Award Winners 2021

Meadow Fresh Outstanding Barista

Fumihiko Takai, Espresso Studio

Diplomatico Outstanding Bartender

Cory Evans, The Last Word

Ara Institute of Technology Emerging Front of House

Nova Middleton, Twenty Seven Steps

Tevalis Outstanding Front of House Team

5th Street

Southern Hospitality Emerging Chef

Jackson Mehlhopt, gin gin

Service Foods Outstanding Chef

Finbar McArthy, Gatherings

Antipodes Water Company Outstanding New Establishment

gin gin

Burns & Ferrall Outstanding Street Food/Casual Dining

Smokey Ts

Bidfood Outstanding Café

Child Sister

Nanny Goat Vineyard Outstanding Wine & Beverage List

Cellar Door

Coca Cola Europacific Outstanding Bar

gin gin

Pernod Ricard Outstanding Regional Establishment

Black Estate Winery

OneMusic Outstanding Ambience & Design

Austin Club

Dinefind Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant

Bar Yoku

American Express Outstanding Restaurant

5th Street

McCarthy Outstanding Sales Rep

Andy John Allen, Punky Distro

Addington Raceway Outstanding Supplier

Punky Brewster

HospoStart Outstanding Caterer

White Tie Catering

Potatoes NZ Outstanding People’s Choice Award

Smokey T’s

Trents Wholesale Supreme Crew Member

Finbar McArthy, Gatherings

Trents Wholesale Supreme Establishment

gin gin



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