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Ambassador Chef champions New Zealand lamb

Ambassador Chef champions New Zealand lamb
Cameron Davies at Totara Estate in Oamaru where the first export shipment of Lamb left for Britain. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chef Cameron Davies is telling the paddock-to-plate story of farming in every dish he creates at his Te Anau restaurant, The Fat Duck.

"It's been really cool connecting with farmers and understanding the background story," Davies says.

That story is something customers have been craving.

“It's been really nice to be able to connect those dots for people. Because without farmers, we have nothing to put on the plate."

The ambassador program aims to drive innovation and creativity using New Zealand beef and lamb within the food service sector.

"There have been chefs I have looked up to for years who have been Beef + Lamb Ambassadors, and now to be on their level, it's pretty special," Davies said.

"It's also nice to get the recognition and have something I will always look back on and feel proud of.”

His team were blown away when he told them the news.

"It's great to see their passion and excitement for this within the team as well.

"I've really enjoyed the journey so far. We go through to the end of this year, and then we will mostly reapply.”

Davies has worked at some of New Zealand's top restaurants and honed his skills further at Harvey Nichols in London.

While abroad, he also worked as head chef on a private yacht cooking for celebrities, including Beyoncé and Jay Z.

He returned home in 2015 and purchased The Fat Duck Restaurant and Bar with his wife, Seline, where he focuses on using local, quality ingredients to create simple but delicious food.

For Davies, New Zealand's grass-fed free-range lamb stands out on the world stage.

"We have a diverse sort of farming country, but throughout our lamb is farmed on lush, green grass. And that gives us a huge advantage.

"I think we also deliver on flavour and consistency. They are really key things when you are communicating with chefs and consumers.

"And ethically, our farmers care about their animals. They care about how they are looked after right from the minute they are born all the way through to the minute they're in the processing plant.

“That care factor comes through in flavour and consistency.”

Davies is one of four Ambassador Chefs who will hold the title for two years throughout 2022 and 2023. A recent competition will see a new Young Ambassador Chef added to the line-up, with the winner being announced at an awards dinner in May.

by Claire Inkson