Awards beefing up presentation of quality red meat

A Queenstown chef is in the running for the inaugural Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Award, to be announced at a function in Auckland tonight.

Judging co-ordinator Kerry Tyack and 40 judges visited more than 70 restaurants in New Zealand tasting all dishes to find the 10 finalists.

Craig Hendry, of Gantleys, made the cut with his Hereford beef dish.

Mr Tyack said the award was set to become the benchmark indicator of how to prepare and cook ''the finest red meat dishes in the country''.

''The standard has been exceptionally high, with chefs demonstrating great skill and innovation when it comes to treating high-quality ... cuts with care and creativity.

''It's been hard to separate the 73 in the field.

''It's a move that acknowledges the extremely high standard of dishes presented.''

Silver Fern Farms marketing general manager Sharon Angus said the dishes were an ''exemplary showcase'' of how to use quality red meat cuts.

Mr Hendry served a braised beef rib and beef fillet with blue cheese beignet, pan jus and seasonal vegetables.

''I have always thought the beef rib is a great cut and under-utilised.

''By pairing it with the more common fillet, the costumer gets to enjoy a variation of cooking techniques on one dish.''

Mr Hendry grew up on a small Scottish island, moving to Glasgow to start his career and travelling through Europe and to Australia before ''coming home'' to New Zealand.

He has worked in Queenstown for more than 10 years and said he felt ''privileged'' to call the resort his home.