Head chef Keith Gregory put the dish together, serving the meat medium rare, and pairing it with as much Marlborough produce as he could source.
His final product was a pan roasted venison short loin, served medium rare with Marlborough cherries, Pinoli pine nut glaze, cold smoked potatoes, a cauliflower puree, local baby carrots and beetroot, finished with a green micro herb garnish.
The dish has been on the menu at the Vineyard Kitchen for the past two months, during which it was tasted by a pair of mystery judges, who have described it as “perfectly prepared”.
“The venison was perfectly prepared (well cooked and well rested) to medium rare as promised on the menu. It was very tender and most definitely the hero of the dish,” the judges say.
“The cut of meat that was chosen was ideal for this choice. The use of local Pinoli pine nuts was a great choice to add crunch to the dish and worked well with the cherry glaze.”
Keith’s dish was a top contender in the competition, narrowly missing out on being one of the 12 finalists, but gaining a spot in the Top 20 in New Zealand, the judges said.
Seventy three dishes were entered in the competition.
They were judged on how they showcased the red meat, and their presentation, preparation, cooking, taste, texture and creativity.
The Saint Clair Vineyard Kitchen venison dish is described by Keith as having smoky, earthy, fruity flavours, and has been matched with the Saint Clair Pioneer Block 15 Strip Block Pinot Noir 2012.