2014 Beef + Lamb Excellence Award

True South Dining Room Awarded with 2014 Beef + Lamb Excellence Award and Executive Head Chef, Ben Batterbury, Honoured as 2014 Ambassador Chef.

The Excellence Awards are designed to acknowledge a consistently high standard of beef and lamb cuisine. These restaurants have not been compared with each other in the assessment process. Rather, they have been judged on their individual merits.

Whenever you see the Beef and Lamb Excellence Award, you can expect tasty, skilfully composed and superbly presented beef and lamb dishes.


Each year, Beef + Lamb New Zealand selects a team of chefs who have displayed exceptional culinary skills during the assessment period, to be Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ambassador chefs for the year. As well as receiving special recognition for their achievement, the Ambassadors are involved in a planned programme of Beef + Lamb New Zealand activities throughout the year.

Ben Batterbury, Executive Head Chef of The Rees Hotel Queenstown’s True South Dining Room, was honoured to be named again as one of the few ambassador chefs for Beef + Lamb.

Ben has been the Head Chef at True South Dining Room since 2009. Previous to this he held a number of roles across UK restaurants. He trained at Brunel College of Art & Technology between 1994 and 1996.

Ben has had a number of career highlights including cooking at The James Beard House in New York representing New Zealand, helping a chef de partie from Lomonds in Scotland to win Young Scottish Chef of the Year and involvement with the Noosa Food Festival. This is Ben’s second year as a Beef and Lamb Ambassador Chef.


“My thinking is if you buy the best produce there is no need to mask it with too many flavours, I always try to stay true to the product’s natural taste. I also like to take classic dishes and rejig them with my own touch.

“My food always has an adventurous side and I take full advantage of an epicurean network of local suppliers I’ve developed. My aim is to showcase the spectacular Central Otago produce and indulge my passion for fresh, local and seasonal produce in unity with exotic ingredients,” says Ben.


“I became a chef because I hate offices and I like to create things (and to be an Architect would have been another 8 years training!)

“I think that being a chef is like a disease you love to hate! You love the kitchen banter and atmosphere and secretly love the pressure of everyday work loads and the painful rush of a good service. All of it seems worth it when you turn out a plate of food you are happy with. That is where the satisfaction lies, hoping people will enjoy your efforts, understand and interpret your dishes as you did when they eat them.

“And the soppy answer to the question of inspiration is of course: I want my little man to be proud of his old man too when he grows up!

“As for the future, I always want to be at the top of my game. I want to have the reputation that if young chefs leave my kitchen, their experience is looked at favourably on their CV. I always want to help the future chefs of our industry, I think it’s our responsibility to maintain and raise the standard for the future,” says Ben.

For more about the 2014 Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards, please visit: