(l-r) Tony Stewart and Nobu Lee. Photo credit Clooney.

Top Auckland restaurateur Tony Stewart was acknowledged with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant contribution to New Zealand’s hospitality industry at AUT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Awards ceremony on December 9.

His commitment to food and service excellence were key factors in his award nomination, says Dr David Williamson, Head of the school’s hospitality department.

“Tony Stewart’s Clooney restaurant has set a new dining experience standard,” he says.

“Since leaving Clooney, Tony’s commitment to recognising New Zealand produce and terroir has provided an inspirational future view.”

Dr Williamson says Tony Stewart appears to be on a never-ending quest in his contribution to the industry.

Tony Stewart says he is humbled and somewhat shocked to receive the award, however he was proud to be recognised for his past and future contributions.

Kate Fay

One of Auckland’s top chefs, Kate Fay of the renowned Cibo in Parnell, was also acclaimed at AUT’s awards ceremony, also gaining an Outstanding Achievement Award.

The award recognises not only her 25-years at Cibo, including 21 years as Head Chef, but also her innovative approach to cuisine.

Exemplifying the latter is Kate Fay’s infamous hāpuka and slipper lobster with spicy XO and coconut porridge, followed up with Valrhona chocolate with a peanut slab, fondant and macaron for dessert.

In 2018 Beef and Lamb New Zealand awarded her a platinum ambassadorship award for winning four standard ambassadorships (1999, 2005, 2013, 2018). Kate is the first woman chef to receive this award and there are only eight holders of the award nationwide.

The Head of AUT’s culinary programmes, John Kelly, says she is a great role model for chefs.

“Kate’s approach to food and willingness to train staff are legendary,” he says.

“We are delighted to honour her in this way.”

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