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QUEENSTOWN CHEF WINS TASTE OF NEW ZEALAND HONOUR

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October, 2011

Award-winning English chef Ben Batterbury is back to basics in his Queenstown kitchen after churning out more than 2000 mouth-watering portions of West Coast whitebait and Southland rabbit at the Taste of New Zealand Festival in Auckland.

The executive chef at the upmarket Rees Hotel's True South Dining Room, Mr Batterbury won the Taste of New Zealand award for the southern region, from Christchurch south. He and the other three regional winners from around the country were flown to Auckland for the festival, which ran from October 19 -22 in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup final.

One of the key criteria for the coveted accreditation was showing leadership , integrity and pride in the use of quality local New Zealand produce.

Mr Batterbury woo'ed tastebuds with his take on fresh West Coast whitebait, whipping 32 kilos of the kiwi delicacy into delicious fritters. Southland company Fare Game was kept busy supplying 100 rabbits for his terrine of Southland rabbit, the other dish he served.

We sold probably 1000 portions of each dish over the four days,' Mr Batterbury said.

It was all go, mixing whitebait in large buckets every day in the AUT kitchen where the visiting chefs were based.

He got to rub shoulders with top chefs, including celebrity chef Rick Stein, and said more than 23,000 people poured through the festival in total.

Any profit from the food sold would be donated to the Canterbury earthquake appeal.

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