A chef affectionately known as the ‘Godfather’ of New Zealand’s fine dining scene has received one of AUT’s highest honours. 

Tony Astle, who owned the renowned Antoine’s restaurant in Parnell, was awarded the title of Seddon Honorary Fellow of AUT at a dinner on June 16.   

“Tony is one of New Zealand’s most successful chefs and restaurateurs. His commitment to hospitality excellence over four decades has provided a benchmark that others have keenly followed. 

“He has also educated, mentored and provided employment to many chefs starting out in the industry, including AUT alumni. A Seddon Honorary Fellowship reflects and recognises the significant contribution that Tony has made to the hospitality industry,” said AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack.  

The prestigious award recognises individuals of distinction who are innovative leaders with strong connections to AUT and who have made a significant contribution to the University and to the wider community. 

Tony Astle has generously contributed to all of AUT’s culinary programmes since the early 1980s providing demonstrations to students, participating in students’ final practical examinations, and supporting the School of Hospitality and Tourism as the premier provider of chef and culinary training in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

Widely known as the ‘Godfather’ of New Zealand fine dining, he has also mentored many of today’s culinary superstars, including AUT alumni Simon Gault and Michael Meredith. 

Tony Astle began his career in 1965 as a chef’s apprentice to Madam Louise and Des Britten at Le Normandie in Wellington. He went on to open his own restaurant, Antoine’s in Auckland in 1973. The award-winning 47-year-old restaurant stood out in an industry with an average restaurant lifespan of 18 months.   

He was inducted into the Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame in 1997 and was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services as a chef in 2013.  

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