Environmental sustainability is a major issue currently facing our world.  The Hospitality Industry has historically had a major impact on our environment due to the use of harmful cleaning chemicals, generation of masses amounts of waste, and high users of power and water. Within our business we have had to look hard at ourselves to see what we can do within our organisation to:

  • reduce the use of single use packaging
  • reduce food waste
  • be more environmentally considerate with our use of chemicals
  • align ourselves with local and sustainable suppliers
  • recycle

 Ultimately, our responsibility extends throughout our various kitchens and venues to look after our country and local water ways for the future generations.

The beautiful foreshore along Marine Parade, Napier – a slice of paradise we are so grateful to enjoy on a daily basis.

Our sustainable Venues

Church Road Winery and The Napier Conference Centre are both committed to operating as Environmentally and Socially sustainable businesses. We are proud to be associated with each of these venues and together we can be conscious of our decisions to protect the future of our planet for future generations.

Together with the Napier Conference Centre, we have implemented many Environmentally friendly initiatives to allow us to minimise the impact of our operation on the environment.  These include:

  • Recycling stations throughout the venue for glass, plastic, paper cardboard and aluminium
  • Biodegradable cups are provided at tea and coffee stations, as well as porcelain cups and saucers
  • Organic waste from the kitchen at both the Napier Conference Centre and Church Road is collected by a local pig farmer.
  • Excess food that is suitable, is donated to organisations including Nourished for Nil and the Women’s Refuge
Recycling station at the Napier Conference Centre
  • Across our venues, fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables are delivered in crates, which are then collected by the suppliers and re-used to reduce waste
  • Kitchen cooking oil is refreshed and waste oil is managed by Cook Right who take away used oil, refine and recycle it.
  • Filter and barista-made coffee and sugar bowls are used to reduce individually wrapped condiments.
  • Butter is purchased in blocks and cubed for service rather than offering disposable butter sachets
  • Any chemical products used for cleaning are carefully measured and highly diluted.
  • A cold water high pressure rinse tap operates in the kitchen to reduce hot water use.

Chemical Waste

Low impact chemicals are used particularly at Church Road where we operate within strict criteria to meet their sustainable and light environmental footprint requirements as outlined in the Pernod Ricard Winemakers Environmental Policy.  There is a non chlorine policy throughout the entire site.  Church Road Winery have a had a particular emphasis on incorporating environmentally friendly and sustainable practices in the working culture of the business.  As an active partner we also align ourselves strongly with the sustainability policies for both of our main contract partners and are happy to operate in keeping with their policies.

The decline in single use packaging

There has been a recent shift within the Conference and Events industry in New Zealand where Conference organisers and Event Managers have looked to communicate a sustainable story to their guests.  Corporate clients are now offering reusable coffee cups at barista stations, and no long accept single use plastic plates, and cutlery.  We have been fortunate to be able to have a significant number of suppliers in the market that offer biodegradable and compostable alternatives for those events where a disposable vessel is unavoidable.

We say no to plastic straws! Plastic straws have a short life span, as they were designed as a single use product that can take up to 200 years to decompose.

The majority of our meat, poultry and seafood is delivered by our suppliers in cardboard.  This is unavoidable in most instances, as the cardboard helps insulate the goods by keeping them cold.  It also prevents cross contamination during transportation.

In our line of work, we go through a lot of beer and wine in glass bottles, and all of our milk comes in recyclable milk bottles. All of which is recycled on a weekly basis.

A focus on the origin of our food

While we can’t control how our staff and customers think, we can keep the sustainable message a current part of the conversation with staff and customers at Dish.  On our menus, we are proud to serve ethically grown meat sourced from New Zealand.

A lot of the time our customers want to communicate a sustainable story to their guests.  This is a great opportunity for us to research and learn more about sustainable foods and practices.  We have worked closely with Firstlight Wagyu and Venison for the last 2 years to help communicate their message at their annual” AGM and spring muster”. 

Preparation of grass fed beef in our Napier Conference Centre kitchen

NZ Grass fed beef is considered one of the most sustainable and healthy proteins in the world.   Handling and preparing this special product is a fantastic opportunity for all of our staff to use this sustainable product.                                                                                                                                 

All of our produce is fresh and grown right here in the Hawkes Bay.  We are proud to support local producers when and wherever possible which cuts down on our carbon footprint significantly. 

Sustainability in practice

We were delighted to share our belief in Sustainable produce and waste reduction through our last FAWC event at Church Road Winery where we teamed up with Church Road and Karl Warr (a local sustainable fishing advocate) to highlight a sustainable product.   The theme of the dinner was the “Whole Fish Tail”. We were able to create a 4-course menu by using the entire fish – head, gills, skin, fins and tail!

“Nose to tail… how about fin to tail? Come and experience the whole fish and hear how it gets to your plate. Karl Warr will lead you into the world of ‘Better Fishing’ with tales of sourcing the best locally caught Hawke’s Bay fish from his boat ‘Chips’. Enjoy five courses created by Dish Contemporary Cuisine. Discover the whole tale with Dish’s Jenny Parton, from fin to gill and all that’s in between.  Each course will be wine-matched with Church Road varietals by our very own Chief Winemaker, Chris Scott.”


The Menu

The Whole Fish Tale – 10th November 2018

Gurnard skin crackers with smoked gurnard, dill and caper cream, pickled cucumber

Crispy fish tails and bones with tomato jam and kimchi mayo

Gurnard head stock “tom yum” with Asian herbs, sprouts, crispy shallots, garlic and furikake

Pan fried gurnard fillets, chickpea cumin and herb salad, green herb dressing, saffron crème fraiche & creoja salsa

Part of the sustainable brief for this dinner was to create a menu using the entire fish – head, gills, skin/scales, tail

In brief…..

We are delighted that the Napier Conference Centre and Church Road share our belief in sustainable product, and waste reduction; it makes for a very easy relationship when we are all working towards a shared vision.

The Napier Conference Centre has been awarded the Qualmark Enviro-Silver rating as a business that is actively participating in energy efficiency, conservation initiatives, waste management, community activities and water conservation, and we are proud to be aligned with this initiative.

a brief history

Banh Mi is the Vietnamese word for “Bread”.  In Vietnamese cuisine, Banh mi also refers to a baguette style roll that is split length ways and filled with a variety of tasty ingredients such as Vietnamese pork sausage, pickled vegetables, cilantro (coriander), cucumber, and condiments from French cuisine such as pate, mayonnaise and chilli.

A traditional Banh Mi street vendor in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The baguette was introduced to Vietnam by the French in the mid-19th century when Vietnam was part of French Indochina, and had become a staple food by early 20th century.

During the 1950s, a distinctly Vietnamese style Banh mi was developed in Saigon and became a popular street food.  Following the Vietnam war, the Vietnamese colonized countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States, and subsequently set up food trucks and fast food shops, and these sandwiches became a Vietnamese Icon Internationally.

banh mi saigon, napier

Banh Mi has come to Napier! Banh Mi Saigon was opened by Cong Dinh and his lovely wife in Green-meadows shopping centre earlier this year, and it has been an instant success!

The Lovely couple behind Banh Mi Saigon, Greenmeadows

When I arrived to meet with Cong, there were three customers ahead of me, and more streamed through the doors.  This is pretty standard over meal times at Banh Mi Saigon, so be prepared to wait, but it is well worth it to enjoy a fresh hot Banh mi! In fact, it was so busy, they could barely spare a moment to talk to me!

I ordered the newest addition to the menu: Banh Mi Pork – BBQ Style Pork, peanut, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, red onion, coriander & chili  –  a steal at only $7.50 and it did not disappoint. What can I say, the combination of flavours, freshly baked bread – warmed slightly, fresh crisp produce, tasty marinated tender cuts of meat and the range of accompaniments, I truly believe that there is something on the menu for everyone.

For the more adventurous, I would recommend ordering the Banh Mi Saigon for a true authentic Vietnamese experience.  Cong tells me that they make their own Chicken pate on site, it is very light and but adds beautiful texture and flavor. The other stars of the dish are the Vietnamese sausage, Braised Pork, Garlic sausage, Pork Floss, Pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, red onion, coriander and soy sauce.  To give it an extra bang, be sure to ask for some chilli!

Banh Mi Saigon – chicken pate, Vietnamese Sausage, Braised Pork, Garlic sausage, pork floss, pickled daikon, carrot, cucumber, chilli and coriander.
Gluten free option served on rice

Cong even has a gluten free option for his customers with allergies or intolerance’s; hot steamed rice instead of bread.  Just ask at the counter.

When things quieten down in the shop, Cong quietly tells me that his main inspiration for opening Banh Mi Saigon was his lovely wife.  Banh Mi is her favourite dish from their home land of Vietnam. They now work side by side in the shop, and are able to enjoy more time together and with their young son, Tiger. Cong tells me that he is also very proud to share something of their homeland with the people of Hawkes bay.

worldly experience

I was curious to understand where Cong had come from, and how he had gained such a passion for food. His love of food, his skill and talent for creating fabulous dishes was obvious when he worked for us at Dish.

Cong has been a Chef for 18 years and has worked all over the world including Vietnam, Italy, Hong Kong, Macau and New Zealand. He has gained a wealth of experience in International cuisine having worked in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and American restaurants all over the world.

Following a dream of travelling and seeing the world, Cong left Vietnam and worked for one year on the biggest Cruise Ship in Asia, the Star Cruise.  This was followed by a two-year stint in Italy working for Costa, the Biggest Italian Cruise liner. A return to Asia took Cong to Macau to work in the kitchens of the Luxurious a Multi- award winning 5-star Galaxy hotel.

Six years ago, New Zealand gained a very talented Chef when Cong moved from Vietnam to New Zealand. Cong worked as a chef for the Hilton in Auckland for more than 2 years.  Dinh and his family moved to Napier in 2017, where Cong was employed as the Sous Chef for Dish Catering at the Napier Conference Centre before opening Banh Mi Saigon.

So experience a true taste of Vietnam here in Hawkes Bay by visiting Banh Mi Saigon, and don’t forget to take a Crème Caramel home for dessert…. they are simply Amazing!

the menu

Menu as at October 2019 – seasonal variations may apply.
Menu changes occasionally.

Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish consisting of wheat noodles served in a meat broth that has been flavoured with Miso or Soy sauce to give it a nice salty flavour.  The meat broth is like a stock – vegetables, and a protein such as pork ribs are slowly simmered in water for a number of hours. This liquid is sieved, and the broth is seasoned with miso and mirin.

The Ramen noodles are cooked separately in a pot of boiling water, drained well (so as to not dilute the flavours in the broth) and added to the broth.

The dish is often topped with accompaniments such as soft- boiled eggs, wilted spinach, Shiitake mushrooms, Nori (dried seaweed), coriander and sliced braised or crispy Pork.

The Origin of Ramen….

Its origin is unknown, but many believe that Ramen came from China in the 1800s and offered a filling and affordable meal to the working class.  It was originally made with rice noodles.  After Japan was defeated by the Americans in WW2, the Americans occupied the country for close to a decade.  In 1945, Japan recorded the worst rice harvest in history as production reduced and shifted to China and Taiwan. As a result, there were massive food shortages.  In order to rectify this, the US saturated the market with cheap wheat flour, and consequently created a huge increase in bread consumption. It was also the beginning of Ramen noodles being made from wheat!

Many black market Ramen vendors were arrested during the occupation due to the ban on outdoor food vendors. However, by the 1950s, many of the imposed controls and restrictions were lifted, further increasing the number of ramen vendors.

Ramen today…..

Ramens’ popularity today comes as no surprise, as it is certainly taking the world by storm.  With exciting umami flavours, and comfort food tendencies, we could call it a global phenomenon.  While respecting the traditional process for making ramen used to be the order of the day, many chefs are now experimenting with their creative interpretations of the dish.  But you can still find chefs today who masterfully create beautiful renditions of the original.

How do we eat Ramen the traditional way?  Suck and Slurp!

Traditionally in Japan, it is important that before you take your first mouthful, you will savour the aroma and appreciate the presentation of the dish.  After all, Ramen does take hours, and sometimes days, to prepare. 

To further show your appreciation of the dish, suck up the noodles while making a “slurp!” sound.  Don’t be afraid to make noises, because in Japanese tradition, it shows that you are really enjoying the dish.

How to enjoy our rendition of this deliciously warming dish

‘Miso Ramen’ – Japanese soup with ramen noodles, crispy pork belly, soft boiled egg, shiitake mushrooms, nori and coriander

Visit us at Church Road Winery Restaurant to try our interpretation of traditional Ramen

Visit us at Church Road Winery Restaurant.  Click here to view our menu.

These delicious cookies are so easy to bake, they can be whipped up in under 30 minutes. They are rich in fibre, and energy, and keep in an air tight container for weeks (unless they are demolished first!)


Ready in 30 minutes and makes approx 40 cookies

2 cups muesli – with a combination of dried fruit, nuts and seeds of your choice.

2 cups plain flour

2 cups thread coconut

2 cup soft brown sugar

250 gr butter

1/2 cup golden syrup

4 tbsp boiling water

1 tsp baking soda

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Edible Easter treats

For me, Easter in New Zealand marks the end of the warm Autumn days and the beginning of the cooler months.  We enjoy the novelty of lighting the fire and enjoying warm home cooked meals with a glass of one of Hawkes Bay’s finest red wines.

This year, Easter falls in the middle of the school holidays, and like many parents I am struggling to come up with creative ways to entertain the kids for two whole weeks! And keep them away from screens…  Easter often brings cold, wet weather, so some of the parents of DISH have come together with some of our favourite Easter recipes, simple enough to make with the kids on those wintery days, when all you want to do is spend the day snuggled inside!

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Gluten is a protein and is found in grains such as spelt, wheat and rye.  Gluten is a useful when making bread and pasta as when the flour (which contains gluten) is mixed with water, it creates a glue-like “sticky” consistency, making the dough strong and elastic.  It gives bread a delicious chewy texture. Salt also helps to preserve the strength of gluten. 

On the other hand, when butter is added to a dough mixture, it shortens the strands of gluten, making the dough “short”.  Butter contains fat, and the fat weakens the strands of gluten, so they can’t join together to make a strong elastic dough.  This is why butter is added to dough such as brioche, short pastry or baking which require a soft tender mixture.

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Cut 3-4 slits in each side of the salmon, fill with half lemon slices, thinly sliced pickled (or fresh) ginger and lime kaffir leaves.

With these beautiful long summer days drawing to an end, many keen fishermen are eager to spend us much time out on the boat before winter sets in. Furthermore, many have exhausted their BBQ repertoire over the past couple of months. For this reason, we felt the need to give some fresh inspiration to the avid fisherman. Here is a great way to enjoy the catch of the day!

Begin with a whole snapper, gutted and descaled.

Oil two large sheets of foil, place the fish on one of the oiled sheets, and place the other sheet of foil over the top, oiled side facing down.  Crimp the edges of the foil to seal.

Cut 3-4 slits in each side of the salmon, fill with half lemon slices, thinly sliced pickled (or fresh) ginger and lime kaffir leaves.

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Here in the Hawkes Bay we have been enjoying some beautiful summer weather with temperatures soaring above 30 degrees, and it therefore seems very fitting to be cooking outside and making the most of these glorious mild evenings.  Even though the mere male is very comfortable his place in front of the BBQ grill, here are a few friendly tips to seal in all those delicious flavours and keep your meat succulent and flavoursome;

  • Start with a very hot grill
  • Remove your Protein from the fridge in advance, because meat is best cooked at room temperature
  • Season the meat with salt, pepper and a little oil. (Avoid oiling the grill because it can burn and char the meat).
  • Turn the protein only once.  Leave it on the grill until you can remove it easily to cook the other side.  If it sticks, it isn’t quite ready to be turned, so leave it for an extra minute.
  • The protein is Medium Rare when blood starts coming to the surface.
  • Good old Watties are a staple at most kiwi barbeques, however there are many different options to add flavour to your BBQ. Above all, you will impress your friends!

Chimichurri sauce is the perfect way to add flavour and freshness to proteins without over powering them.  This sauce is traditional of Argentinean BBQs, similar to pesto and is gluten free!


Chimichurri Sauce

1 cup Flat leaf parsley

2 Tbsp fresh oregano

2 tsp crushed garlic

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to season

1 tsp fresh chilli or ½ tsp dried chilli.

Put all ingredients in blender and blitz, season to taste.

This sauce is beautiful served with BBQ Lamb rump, fresh lettuce, coriander, and pomegranate seeds with a drizzle of fresh lime juice.


Spice dusted lamb, Indian potato cake, pea herb dressing tomato jam and Quinoa Feta balls

This beautiful dish currently features on the Summer menu at Church Road Winery Restaurant, Taradale, Napier, and was created by our Executive Chef, Jenny Parton.

The Quinoa feta balls are a delightful accompaniment to the dish.  The crispiness of the quinoa and the soft “melt in your mouth” texture of the feta is a pleasure on the palate.

Quinoa Feta balls are a perfect accompaniment to your Antipasto platter, a tomato and basil salad, a cheeseboard or  a beef or lamb dish.  Try out this simple recipe, and wow your guests at your next dinner party!

6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp Rosemary
150g Feta
1/2 cup quinoa

Cook black quinoa.  Dry off and fry in deep fryer or a pot of hot oil with a metal sieve until popped.

Whip feta with a fork, mix with crushed garlic and rosemary. Chill down.  Roll into balls and before placing on your plate,  coat in crispy black quinoa.


As caterers, we understand that food plating and presentation are vital to a guests experience.  People “eat with their eyes” so creative plating adds to the visual appeal of a dish.  Here are a few tips to plating up the perfect dish for your guests this Christmas.

Choose the perfect plate…..

Having the right plate to present your dish on is like having the perfect canvas or frame for your painting

  1. Size – Make sure that the plate is the right size to frame the food and that your food stands out.  A plate with a rim is great for creating a border around the food.  Make sure that the plate is not so big that it makes your meal size look too small!
  2. Colour – The colour of your plate is key to attractive food presentation.  Black or white plates provide a nice contrast to the colours of your food, so is nearly always a popular choice. There are also a lot of other modern colour options available on the market these days, so it’s a good excuse to go shopping and update your old dinner set!  So give some thought to the components of your dish and what colour plate would be complementary.

To plate…

  1. The wet ingredients – such as jus, puree or sauce should be put on the plate first. Consider how much you are putting on the plate so as not to drown your meal! On top of this you can then place your starch, or your dessert. 
  2. Odd Numbers – It is always visually appealing (and a trick of the trade) to plate an odd number of the small bite sized items on your plate such as scallops, onion rings.
  3. Colours –While the focus of the dish is usually on the protein, think about the colours and how they will contrast on the plate. We like to use ingredients such as crisp green vegetables or fresh herbs, bright orange carrot or pumpkin puree or pickled pink onions to create our masterpieces.  These vibrant colours add to the visual appeal of the dish.  Edible flowers are also a great way to add visual appeal to a meal!
  4. Height – here at Dish we like to experiment with height when presenting our meals. The main we achieve this is by adding garnishes that give height to the dish such as a wafer, which is placed at a 45-degree angle against the side of a protein. Pea tendrils also add a pop of colour while creating elegant height to our dishes.
  5. Texture – Contrasting texture with complementary flavours add visual appeal, as on the palate. Imagine a creamy Asian-inspired sauce served with grainy rice, a soft slice of salmon topped with crispy cucumber and pickled pink onions – Yum! Crispy shallots add a pleasing crunch to a dish too!
  6. Garnishing – Garnishes are key as they are the finishing touch to any dish. Garnishes need to be edible and the flavours need to be complementary to the dish.  Fresh Vietnamese mint and coriander go exceptionally well with Asian style dishes, and help to enhance the flavours on the plate.  A sugar wafer or biscotti placed on a creamy dessert such as crème brulee add both contrasting texture, height and taste amazing!