It's safe to say that anyone who has dined at Auckland restaurant Apèro Food and Wine would agree that chef Leslie Hottiaux's food is world-class. It's one of our favourite spots to grab a bite of incredible French-inspired food (alongside a glass of beautifully matched wine, of course) and now Leslie’s talent has seen her named as one of the best young chefs in Australasia.
Last night it was announced that Leslie beat nine other Australian and New Zealand chefs to take out the Pacific region’s S.Pellegrino Young Chef local challenge. A signature dish of Potato Gnocchi, Mushrooms, Pine Nuts and Truffle secured her first-place spot, as judged by renowned chefs – including Peter Gilmore, Andrew McConnell, Jacques Reymond, Peter Doyle and Adam D’Sylva.
This win will see Leslie travel to Milan, Italy this October to compete in the world Grande Finale.
Four other New Zealand chefs – Josh Barlow from The Grove, Joshua Ross from Logan Brown, Tom Hishon from Orphans Kitchen and Christopher Walker from Roots – also took part in the competition, showing just how many talented chefs we're lucky to have on our shores.
Leslie owns and operates Apèro Food and Wine with her partner Ismo (Mo) Koski, who took out the Outstanding Maitre d' award at the 2016 Lewisham Awards, which honours the best in the hospitality business as nominated by their peers. Apèro also nabbed the award for Outstanding Wine List.
Find the full story about this dynamic duo in Dish's August–September issue, or head along to 280 Karangahape Road and try their menu for yourself. One bite of dishes such as their terrine of the day, sausage by the metre or roasted cauliflower with goat's curd, almond and mint and you'll be joining in the chorus of praise.