Simon and Lisa from Inati.

The Christchurch hospitality industry acknowledged the outstanding abilities of its own with the announcement of the winners at the annual awards ceremony held tonight.

Presented by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, Trents Wholesale and Lexis ComplyHub, the awards affectionately known as “The Chevrons” acknowledge the outstanding hospitality professionals, all of whom are making a positive impact on the local café and dining scene.

Simon Levy from Inati took top honours winning the outstanding chef award, famed for its immersive dining experience, Inati also proved they have all the ingredients and were named outstanding restaurant.

5th Street, the latest venue from the creators of much loved venue Hello Sunday received accolades for the transformation of the old fruit and veg warehouse, winning the outstanding ambience and design and supreme establishment awards. Front of house star Wynn Kerstens took out the outstanding Maitre’d title.

Popular fried chicken food truck Empire Chicken, who got its start from a kick starter campaign won outstanding pop-up establishment and supreme breakthrough talent awards. Back in May 2018 83 backers pledged more than $15,000 to help bring this project to life.

Popular speakeasy bar O.G.B housed in an old heritage building in Cathedral Square won outstanding bar for a third year and emerging front of house talent went to Duty Manager Grace Irving.

The rise of pop-ups and food trucks in Christchurch sees Smokey T’s win the people’s choice award.

Marisa Bidois, CEO Restaurant Association of New Zealand says “New Zealand’s garden city has blossomed in the last couple of ears with new bars, restaurants and pop up dining concepts opening regularly. The hospitality industry is playing a vital role in re-creating the city. These people are committed to attracting people back into the central city and getting Christchurch recognised as a world-class food destination.

The Restaurant Association of New Zealand also celebrated two of its best and brightest as local coffee pioneer Sam Crofskey was inducted to the Association’s Hall of Fame and Street Wise was named as the industry’s Good Neighbour.

After the quake struck in 2011, café owner Sam Crofskey was one of the first to breathe life back into the CBD.

C1 Espresso had been operating in the city for several years when the quake hit. The CBD was declared a disaster zone and the café was damaged beyond repair. Instead of giving up, Crofskey saw an opportunity to not just rebuild but to reimagine his café.

C1 Espresso reopened in High Street in November 2012, where Crofskey and his staff now serve coffee and food to an eclectic mix of people from one of the few heritage buildings left standing.

Sam also initiated the Christchurch Hospitality Awards to celebrate the businesses and the people who are returning the vibrant hospitality industry to its former glory.

Street Wise Charitable Trust was set up by co-founders River Jayden and Samantha Creed who recognised the massive poverty gaps in Christchurch and they decided to do something about it.

Street Wise provides wrap around support to those in need by offering food, clothes, drug and alcohol support and any other assistance they can provide.

Lisa Levy, Canterbury Branch President of the Restaurant Association says that all winners have made exceptional contributions to the community.

“Both are full of heart and have given selflessly; in Sam’s case supporting the hospitality in the CBD, and Street Wise raising awareness of homelessness in Christchurch and helping those with no fixed abode”.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony attended by 350 guests held at the Isaac Theatre Royal on Monday 9th September 2019.

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