A record 223 medals have been conferred in the 2021 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards reflecting the quality of New Zealand made food and drink as well as the most entries ever received in this, the fifth year of the awards. (Medal winners list here)
Kiwi food lovers will recognise the winning products as many will wear their Outstanding NZ Food Producer medal stickers. These medal stickers are an independent endorsement of quality, a promise to food lovers that the food and drink products are made locally and – best of all – they will be delicious!
Thirty judges, tasting in 10 panels of three, assessed a record 300 plus food and drink entries from 126 producers, with total entries up 26% on the previous year. Judges tasted products from throughout New Zealand – from Central Otago, across to the Chatham Islands and up to Northland.
Judging was held at AUT School of Hospitality & Tourism in April 2021. The main panels of judges were supported by three specialist sustainability judges, four cooks and 12 stewards. Judging was overseen by champion for New Zealand produce, Head Judge Lauraine Jacobs. “It has, again, been a privilege to judge this year’s entries in the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards. The thought, effort and expertise that goes into producers’ work was evident as our panel tasted and examined so many delicious and exciting new and well-established products. Congratulations to all the worthy and deserving medal winners. They represent the very best of New Zealand food,” Lauraine said.
Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards Co-Director, Kathie Bartley said it was wonderful to see such a diverse range of products. “Our panel tasted and assessed paua and Blue Cod from the Chatham Islands, sauces and chutneys from Northland through to Central Otago, nut butters, fresh produce, specialty cheeses, Pohutukawa smoked meat, gourmet sausages, charcuterie, salmon, artisan chocolate, gluten free and dairy free products to name a few.”
She said the quality of this year’s entries was recognised with 69 gold medals, 91 silver medals and 63 bronze medals.
Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards Co-Director, Nicola McConnell said one of the most exciting aspects of 2021 Awards was the depth of Kiwi producers’ innovation, with many new products that were developed during the country’s first Covid lockdown in March and April last year.
The 2021 judging team
Kathie and Nicola thanked the highly talented team of food professionals who give their time and taste buds to judge the 2021 awards. They were; Head Judge, Lauraine Jacobs and specialist sustainability judges; Emily King, Fiona Stephenson and Holly Leach as well as; Shaun Clouston, Mat Mclean, Tamara Rubanowski, Anna King Shahab, Jackie Matthews, Troy Brownlie, Jonathon Robertson, Anton Leyland, Niki Bezzant, Fiona Smith, Connie Clarkson, Kerry Tyack, Suzanne Bliss, Tracy Berno, Vanessa Baxter, Renny Aprea, Lorna Subritzky, Trudi Nelson, Jacqui Dixon, Catherine Bell, Michelle Jones, Kate Underwood , Lynda Hallinan, John Kelleher, Kathy Paterson, Aaron Pooch, Richard Emerson and James Thomas.
Champions revealed in June
All Gold Medal winners are in contention for the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards Supreme Champion, Category Champion and Special Awards, which will be announced on Tuesday 22 June 2021.
Awards to be announced are; Emerson’s Dairy Champion, Farro Earth Champion, Giesen Wines Paddock Champion, Seafood NZ Water Champion and Label & Litho Drink Champion; one of which will be also named 2021 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Supreme Champion. NZ Life & Leisure Spirit of New Zealand Award, Outstanding Sustainability, FMCG Business Outstanding New Product, Outstanding Emerging Business and Outstanding Free-From Product and Coast People’s Choice Awards for Outstanding Food Producer and Outstanding NZ Farmers’ Market will also be revealed then.
Try the winning produce
From July food lovers across New Zealand will have the opportunity to try the winning produce at a series of Winner Dinners and cookery classes across Aotearoa.
Winner Dinners: Palate Restaurant, Hamilton (Thursday 8 July) Logan Brown and Emerson’s Collab, Emerson’s Taproom, Dunedin (Wednesday 18 August) and Logan Brown, Wellington (Thursday 16 September)
Cookery Classes: Maincourse, Auckland (Tuesday 6 July), Riverside Kitchen, Christchurch (Wednesday 11 August) and Maincourse, Auckland (Friday 3 September).
A brand new event this year is a foodie tour of Matakana by Head Judge Lauraine Jacobs on Wednesday 20 October.