Auckland’s Botswana Butchery has taken out the title of Premier Master of Fine Cuisine at the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards, held in Auckland last night.

The popular restaurant also won awards for Best Beef Dish and Best Metro.

Executive Chef Stuart Rogan, who manages Botswana Butchery in Auckland and Queenstown as well as Auckland’s Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill, impressed judges with his dish: Silver Fern Farms Reserve beef eye fillet, braised short rib with parsley, mustard and horseradish crust, carrot puree, asparagus, whipped garlic and cep jus. Head judge Kerry Tyack described Rogan’s dish as ‘consistent and faultless’.

“This dish set the bar with its superb technique and stunning celebration of the art of meat preparation. The whipped garlic was the masterstroke that tied it all together. It was considered, colourful, carefully combined and ultimately satisfying,” he said.

Other Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards winners are: Palate Restaurant in Hamilton (the 2013 Premier Master of Fine Cuisine and a 2014 runner-up) and Salt on The Waterfront in New Plymouth for Best Lamb Dish (joint winners); Pravda Café in Wellington (a 2013 finalist) for Best Venison Dish; and Pitches Store in Ophir, Central Otago, for Best Regional.

Tyack said the entrants in the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards continue to raise the bar, and selecting a winner from such a high caliber of entrants was challenging.

Silver Fern Farms general manager marketing, Sharon Angus, says she was surprised at the number of venison dishes in this year’s awards. “It’s been an especially popular choice, with 39% of all entrants using venison, and five of the twelve finalist dishes featuring this protein. This reflects the growing trend for chefs to use this versatile, lean and healthy red meat choice, which is a pattern we are also seeing filtering down to home cooks.” she said.

The Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards, now in their third year, celebrate the artistry and creativity of New Zealand’s top red meat chefs by inviting them to create an original dish using a Silver Fern Farms cut of lamb, beef, venison or SILERE alpine origin merino.

Sixty-two entrants from Kerikeri to Queenstown were narrowed down to twelve finalists, who were re-judged by Kerry Tyack and Tony Adcock, both well-respected critics in the food and beverage industry and experienced judges in national food competitions.

Diners can experience the finalist and winning dishes until the end of March 2016.