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Waikato Food Inc Award Winners Announced

WFI Rising Star Daniel Rich - Mr Pickles

Sky City Hamilton was a buzz on Monday night as over 300 people came together to celebrate the Waikato Food Inc Awards.  Celebration was the word of the night as those in the industry got to come together and congratulate not just the winners but the industry as a whole.

There is no denying 2020 has been a challenging year and “This is why” Waikato Food Inc Chairperson Sam Immers says “it is so important for us  to continue to champion local while supporting and celebrating our food and hospitality industry.”

The industry voted awards included 11 categories from best barista to rising star, local food hero to best restaurant. WFI’s Projects and Event Manager, Julia Clarke was in charge of pulling the awards and night off with just six weeks’ notice and says “we are so proud of the Waikato hospitality community, not just how resilient they have been this year but how generous they are.  Just 24 hours after putting the call out for sponsors we had filled every category and new we could pull this off.”

And pull it off they did!  Sky City Hamilton played host while food trucks from the Food Truck League provided the food.  MC’s Camille and Stu from The Breeze entertained and kept the crowd in suspense as the awards were announced before a DJ kicked off and the party really got started.

and the winners were –

Bidfood Best Restaurant – Mr Pickles
Finalists were Palate, Smith & McKenzie and Hayes Common

Bidfresh Top Chef – Andrew Clarke (Camarosa)
Finalists were Logan Murray (Thyme Square), Ashleigh Brodie (Grey St Kitchen) Ben Ensor (Smith & McKenzie) and Mat McLean (Palate)

Hospitality NZ Best Casual Eatery – Grey Street Kitchen
Finalists were Good George, Breaking Bread Café, Cinnamon, Camarosa

Volare People’s Choice – The Keg Room

Pos Pro Best Cheap Eats – The Chilli House
Finalists were – Garden Place Noddle House, Japanese Dinburi-Ya

Green Valley Best Barista – Dove Chen (Grey St Kitchen)
Finalists were – Ella Smith (Mr Pickles) Jassjer Clayton (Camarosa), Corey Sehnert (Hayes Common)

Nourish Magazine Best Rep – Courtney Keating (Southern Hospitality)
Finalists were – Katrina Frost (Bidfresh), Maclain Swanson (Good George), Hamish Pedley (Burns & Ferrall)

Hamilton Beer & Wine Co Top Barkeep – Alex Hudson (Wonder Horse)
Finalists were – Aynslee Rodger (Good Union), Craig Loveday (Alpino), Jack Thompson (Smith & McKenzie)

Bidfresh Rising Star – Daniel Rich (Mr Pickles)
Finalists were Brooke Walls (Good Neighbour), Matthew Obrien (Hayes Common), Harriet Boucher (Grey St Kitchen)

Burns & Ferrall Front of House Superstar – Clara Weinzettl (Mr Pickles)
Finalists were Leslie Kairau (Good George), Christie Burborough (Good Neighbour)

Good George Local Hero – Mathew Pedley (Mr Pickles)
Finalists were Gus Tissink (Bidfresh) Vicki Ravlich-Horan (Nourish Magazine)

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