Hospitality Business Magazine

2022 Felix Award finalists announced

Top Wellington hospitality businesses will be celebrated at the Felix Wellington Hospitality Awards next month at the popular industry event aimed at highlighting the capital city’s very best hospitality providers.

Among the finalists named is new establishment Koji, nominated in the Outstanding Restaurant Category along with a nod for the restaurant’s Lizzie Rogers as Best Emerging Chef.

After living and working under top chefs around the world, owners Johnon MacDonald and Kat Strand moved back to New Zealand with their young family in March 2020, to open Koji – A vibrant, pan Asian restaurant located in Mount Victoria.

Sourcing produce for the team at Koji is a labour of love with the core team travelling across the country to source and meet their suppliers.

Popular Te Aro speakeasy Hawthorn Lounge is nominated for four awards including two nominations in the Outstanding Bartender category for Devan Nesbitt and Meghan Webb.

Their crew plan to return from Sydney Bar Week just in time for the awards after travelling on a Felix Awards scholarship, won by bar owner Alex Vowles prior to Covid.

Famed for its carefully crafted cocktail list, the bar is also nominated for Outstanding Cocktail Experience and Outstanding Bar.

Wellington claims some of New Zealand’s best restaurants, so the category for outstanding restaurant will be hotly contested between finalists Koji, Ortega Fish Shack, Rita and Amok.

Anyone looking for the best brunch and brew in town should check out the line up of finalists for outstanding café and barista.

Customs, Swimsuit, Floriditas and August all make the finalist for Outstanding Café while Isla Harrison (Pravda Café and Grill), Tait Burge (Swimsuit), Tim Norris (Customs Coffee Supreme) and Zuyi Woon (Pour & Twist) are all up for outstanding barista.

Casual dining and take out has surged in popularity over the last few years and Wellington eateries Taste of Home, Fred’s Sandwiches, Greek Food Truck and Donnie Taco have have all been recognised for their casual fare with nominations for outstanding street food or takeout.

The hospitality industry is nothing without the vibrant and diverse people who make and serve in our dining establishments. This year Lewis Culshaw (Hospo Prom/ Rabbit Hole Events), Davey Macdonald (Ortega Fish Shack), Dan Felsing (Mabel’s) and Juno Miers (Margot) have all been recognised for giving exceptional hospitality experiences in the outstanding hospitality professional category.

The Felix Wellington Hospitality Awards celebrate and promote the region’s food and beverage offerings, recognising the champions who deliver the flavours, experiences and gastronomic wonders bringing visitors from near and far to the region.

Brought to you by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand with the support of lead sponsor Gilmours and Visa Wellington On a Plate, the Felix Wellington Hospitality Awards are all about celebrating and promoting the excellence of the region’s food and beverage offerings.

The winners will be revealed on September 11 at an event to be held at Te Papa

Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois says that as hospitality starts its recovery from several challenging years, it is great to take time to recognise the exceptional dining experiences on offer in the nation’s capital. “A trip to Wellington is always a pleasure given the array of top-quality drinking, dining and caffeinating experiences on offer.”

In addition to the judged entries in 18 categories, Bidois says the Wellington community is invited to vote for their favourite establishment in The Hit’s People’s Choice Award category. Voting is through the Hospitality Awards website