The Felix Wellington Hospitality Awards unveiled the exceptional talent within the local hospitality community as it revealed the 2023 winners on September 10.
The awards recognise the hospitality professionals, including street food vendors, such as Fred’s Sandwiches and caterers, Food Envy, who are making a positive impact on the local café, food and dining scene.
The Restaurant Association of New Zealand, with the support of lead sponsor, Gilmours, organises the awards with the main purpose being to unite, grow and promote the Wellington hospitality industry.
Graze Wine Bar, located in Kelburn, claimed victory in the Supreme Establishment and Outstanding Restaurant categories, with its chef, Max Gordy, earning the distinguished title of Outstanding Chef.
Established by owners, chef Max Gordy hailing from Chicago and his partner Stina Persen, Graze Wine Bar has quickly gained a solid following for its array of ethically conscious dishes, crafted from locally sourced ingredients in New Zealand.
Popular all-day dining establishment Floriditas, secured three awards including Outstanding Café. Additionally, Joshua Cruzat received the Emerging Chef award, and Jessica Menzies earned recognition as the Outstanding Barista.
Renowned for its fresh Mediterranean-inspired cuisine served on Taranaki St, Wellington, August Eatery won the heart of the local dining public clinching the People’s Choice Award.
Owner Lisa Lee, alongside her business partner Tanase Antipas, launched August Eatery just before a level four snap lockdown in 2021. However, despite the challenging circumstances, the establishment has since garnered substantial acclaim and recognition.
Renowned chef Mark Limacher has left a lasting impression on numerous restaurant kitchens in and around Wellington and has won the title of Gilmours Supreme Individual. Starting his culinary journey in the 1970s by preparing meals for politicians, Limacher has continuously evolved the culinary landscape of Majoribanks St, establishing three restaurants over the years.
His latest venture, Ortega Fish Shack, has become a Wellington favourite earning multiple awards and nominations.
Hawthorn Lounge, an intimate speakeasy, secures two awards: Lucia Freiberg is recognised for Emerging Front of House, and the establishment itself gains the accolade for Outstanding Bar.
Marisa Bidois, CEO Restaurant Association of New Zealand says “Wellington’s dining scene is a blend of culinary innovation, sustainable practices, stunning waterfront dining, a vibrant coffee culture and a genuine love for good food. These elements combined with a welcoming atmosphere make it a destination that truly stands out on the culinary map.
“By recognising the hard work and dedication of passionate hospitality professionals, these awards can help to promote the local dining scene and inspire and motivate others in the industry to strive for excellence.”
The winners were announced at Tākina Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre
Felix Wellington Hospitality Awards 2023 Winners:
Gilmours Supreme Establishment
Graze Wine Bar
Gilmours Supreme Individual
The Breeze Peoples’ Choice
Lumina Lamb Outstanding Restaurant
Graze Wine Bar
Bidfood Outstanding Café
Grey Goose Outstanding Bar
Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Street Food/Takeout
Nova Energy Outstanding Regional Establishment
The Spirit School Outstanding Cocktail Experience
OneMusic Outstanding Ambience & Design
BCE Catering Equipment Outstanding Caterer
Southern Hospitality Emerging Chef
Joshua Cruzat, Floriditas
Anchor Food Professionals Outstanding Chef
Max Gordy, Graze Wine Bar
Altos Tequila Outstanding Bartender
Jevon Sula, Ascot
Restaurant Association of NZ Outstanding Sales Rep
Devendra Patel, Capital Produce
L’affare Outstanding Barista
Jessica Menzies, Floriditas
Dinefind Emerging Front of House
Lucia Freiberg, Hawthorn Lounge
Coca Cola Europacific Partners Outstanding Beer Experience
Little Beer Quarter
Negociants Outstanding Wine Experience
Antipodes Water Outstanding Front Of House
Ortega Fish Shack
American Express Outstanding Supplier