From Mumbai, to London, to Auckland
Chef Tejas Nikam’s culinary journey has seen him plate up dishes to a vast audience and given him the opportunity to work alongside some of the industry’s greatest.
Now, in a testament to his dedication and pursuit for quality by fusing international flavours with New Zealand produce, Tejas has been named as one of four Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ambassador Chefs for 2020. This coveted ambassador role will see Tejas drive innovation and creativity while promoting excellence using New Zealand beef and lamb.
Tejas is the executive chef at Vices & Virtues, a Christchurch restaurant which celebrates local and sustainably sourced produce as part of its menu, which he has carefully curated to reflect todays modern cuisine. The menu changes seasonally, with current stars of the show including the delectable sous vide Angus eye fillet and the sustainable line caught fish, alongside Wairiri Buffalo Burrata and artisan baked breads.
Located within the Sudima Laneway complex (also home to the 5-Star Sudima Christchurch City and Moss Spa), Vices & Virtues gives diners the ability to be virtuous with modern and healthy dishes or indulge their vices with a wickedly sweet dessert. Vices & Virtues is owned and managed by HIND Management, which manages the national chain of Sudima Hotels, and Moss Spa.
Tejas’ interest in food began as early as the age of ten when he started cooking with his father. Combining international flavours with New Zealand produce is something Tejas has learned from one of New Zealand’s top chefs, Peter Gordon. It would be safe to say that the pivotal moment in Tejas’ career was being part of the opening crew of The Sugar Club in Auckland in 2013.
“Working with Peter Gordon has shaped my career and helped me to get where I am today,” says Tejas. “To follow in his footsteps and be named as a Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chef is one of the highlights of my career.”
Beef + Lamb New Zealand has been highlighting the wealth of talented chefs in New Zealand for close to quarter of a century. To date they have showcased the skills, craft and creativity of over 80 Ambassador Chefs. Lisa Moloney, Food Service Manager at Beef + Lamb New Zealand, has been overseeing the Ambassador Chef programme for over a decade and was quick to highlight the calibre of entries this year. “We were delighted with the high level of creativity and enthusiasm from chefs around the country who sent in applications. Not only were chefs putting together well thought out beef and lamb dishes with interesting flavour combinations, but the level of execution was very high,” says Moloney. “With such a high standard, it was a tough decision whittling it down to four chefs.”