Queenstown chef Ben Batterbury, of the True South Dining
Room chef, stands outside the Rees Hotel with his Beef and
Lamb 2012 award plate. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
One of Queenstown's best chefs has been chosen as an
ambassador chef in the 2012 Beef and Lamb awards.
True South Dining Room's Ben Batterbury was the first from
Queenstown selected for the annual excellence awards and did
so from a pool of 208 entries.
Five chefs were selected for the ambassador roles for the
event, which recognises consistency and quality in the
preparation and presentation of beef and lamb cuisine in
Mr Batterbury said he was pleased with the recognition.
"We don't do it for awards." When cooking meat, "we try to
find the more interesting parts with the most flavour", he
"You go back hundreds of years and you see that people use
every part of the animal." For a beef dish, Mr Batterbury
picked the single-muscle rump, which he said had more
flavour, because the muscle was used often. He also used the
thin steak or the hanger from the diaphragm, which is often
referred to as "the butcher's steak" because butchers would
often keep it for themselves.
Mr Batterbury also used lamb neck fillet and shoulder.
"The shoulder has a good amount of fat. It's bad for us, but
there is more flavour; it's interesting."
The key to a good steak?
"One that has lots of marbling in it."
"Don't tell people that, though, because there will be none
left for my dinner." Beef and Lamb New Zealand's Jenni Dean
said Mr Batterbury's Hereford prime hanger steak, Cardrona
merino lamb neck, and shoulder dishes were deemed faultless
"We are looking for the X factor and his dishes certainly
have that." Mrs Dean was surprised it had taken 15 years to
award a Queenstown chef the accolade, given the resort is a
hospitality and tourism destination.
Mr Batterbury, of England, was previously head chef of
Lomonds Restaurant in Scotland, where he cooked for the King
of Jordon. He has been based in Queenstown for three years
and works as a chef at the True South Dining Room at the Rees
His signature is "fresh and flavoursome" food, prepared using
locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
The restaurant was named as a premier award winner in the
inaugural Taste of New Zealand Awards last year.
Mr Batterbury attended the "flavours of New Zealand" show in
New York earlier this year, which was watched by
international media, and has made appearances on national
The Bristol-born chef's schedule doesn't slow down, as he has
been invited to participate in the 2012 Noosa Food and Wine
Festival in March, alongside 200 international chefs,
winemakers, media and food personalities.
His official duties as an ambassador chef will begin on
February 7 at a photo shoot, where he will cook beef and lamb
He will also make a guest appearance as a celebrity judge at
the Golden Lamb Awards at the Wanaka A and P show on March