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Kiwi Chef Haedyn Woollaston Brings His Passion Back Home

Head Chef of Ernest Haedyn Woollaston is excited to bring his passion for showcasing seasonal produce from Australia to Hamilton.

Woollaston was born in Taranaki starting his career on Ponsonby Road in 1999, spending the early 2000s in the likes of Orbit and White at the Hilton. He then made the move across the ditch in 2010 wanting to see what else the cuisine world had to offer.

While in Australia Woollaston was executive sous chef of two restaurants the Royal Perth Gold Club and Spices group opening Wembley Golf Course. With the highlight of his career being head chef of Yabba Dabba landing the restaurant a spot in the top 100 restaurants in Western Australia restaurants guide, followed by a series of gold plate awards.

After nine years across the ditch Woollaston, having made his mark in Australia decided it was time to come home. Woollaston says the move home was prompted by his love for produce, quality, and family. “New Zealand’s quality product is something you don’t see anywhere else in the world, with ingredients that speak for themselves the potential is endless”.

Once returning home Woollaston worked as head chef at The Old Forge Kitchen in Te Aroha where he built the restaurant from the ground up. Today you can find Haedyn Woollaston at Ernest Hamilton showcasing what New Zealand has to offer Wednesday to Saturday, 4pm till late.

Woollaston says he is grateful for the opportunity owner Craig Loveday has given him, letting him take control of the kitchen showcasing his style and passion. Highlighting the product used in ways such as the Zucchini you see on Ernests menu today. The dish incorporates Zucchini cooked three ways roasted, charred, and pickled before adding the notes of sweat peas and goats’ cheese to finish.

With the hospitality industry facing many challenges over the past few years. Craig Loveday Owner of Ernest says he is grateful to have Haedyn Woollaston as part of the team and hopes to see more kiwi hospitality stars returning from overseas as the border restrictions lift. 

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