Someday Somewhere

I have huge respect for people who are prepared to put everything on the line to follow their dreams, and I come across a number of these people when I’m writing this column. One such person is Kimberley Eagle who recently took over Jaks Island in Bridge St, opposite the courthouse, and rebranded it as Someday Somewhere.

I think it’s a reasonable assumption that the name reflects the desire Kimberley had to open her own foodie place someday, somewhere and it’s an assumption you are correct to make.

Eagle says when she saw Jaks Island cafe was on the market, she knew she had to take the plunge

Someday Somewhere is a few doors along the road from my office and it didn’t take both me and our staff long to find this little gem of a café that serves delicious food and great coffee from 8am until 2pm five days a week.

Kimberley makes everything in-house, including the focaccia bread she uses for her fantastic, and generously sized, sandwiches.

Having sampled her food reasonably regularly and observing this very determined woman doing everything; from making bread, sweet treats, coffee and even serving each person who comes in, I wanted to know what motivates her to work so hard in a very competitive hospitality market.

Someday Somewhere cafe owner Kimberley Eagle at the premises formerly known as Jaks Island cafe in Nelson

“I’m not from Nelson, I grew up at Mangawhai north of Auckland before I headed overseas for about 10 years where I worked in a number of places to learn as much as I could about the industry.”

The first café she worked in was in Mangawhai when she was just 14 years old. This early love of food and first part-time job led her to London and then Australia where she worked in the five star resort realm, managing resort restaurants all over Australia. From the Qualia Resort in the Whitsunday Islands; to Uluṟu; to an Eco resort close to Broome, Western Australia and to Tasmania, Kimberley absorbed as much knowledge from a range of chefs as she could.

“In Australia working in the places I worked meant I was able to work alongside people who were passionate about the industry, it wasn’t just a part-time job to pay their way through university, they were making a career of it. Working in fine dining restaurants at premium resorts attracted like-minded people.”

Kimberley was able to work alongside great chefs like Frank Comora from MoVida (one of our favourite restaurants in Melbourne), Shannon Bennet from Vue du Mond in Melbourne and Matt Moran. “I learned a huge amount from these chefs, often when they visited as guest chefs for the showcase Great Barrier Feast degustation dinners we hosted at the Qualia Resort.  It was a privilege to work alongside these hugely talented chefs.”

The cafe’s name reflects the desire Eagle always had; to open her own foodie place someday, somewhere

After ten years overseas she felt a pull to come back to New Zealand so returned prior to covid and managed the Mt Beautiful Wines tasting room and restaurant north of Waipara until it was closed during Covid.

Kimberley took a break from the hospitality sector when the entire industry went into turmoil during and after covid. She moved to Nelson in 2021 and worked for law firm Glasgow Harley in an admin role where she learned another set of skills that would help her in this venture.

She told me because the love for food is in her blood she was drawn back to the hospitality sector when the opportunity arose to go to Tasmania and the Piermont Retreat on the east coast between Hobart and Launceston. “It was an awesome experience and while I was there, we were nominated as an Australian Gourmet Traveller Destination Restaurant finalist, that’s a big deal in Australia, and Calvin King is an exceptional chef.”

Then it was back to Nelson where she saw Jaks was for sale, “I remember driving past the building and thought what a fantastic building, I saw there was a café and thought it was the sort of place I would like to have a business. When I noticed it was for sale I just had to take on the challenge. I just love the building and location. I almost feel like I’m in the city, there’s a buzzy vibe with the other tenants in the building and customers who come in.”

When it comes to the food, I can assure you it is very good. Kimberley told me she wanted to do something where things just aren’t the same every day, “I know I need to have the staples, but I like to change things up a bit, I want people to be excited about what I have to offer, something new each time they come.”

The focaccia recipe Eagle uses in her sandwiches was a gift from a former colleague in Australia

One of the things that has made her famous among those in the know is the focaccia bread she makes fresh each day. “Calvin from Piermont gave me the focaccia recipe as his gift to me when I left because I couldn’t stop eating it when I worked with him. Now I need his green olive tapenade recipe to use in my sandwiches too.”

The sandwiches are very generous and come in flavours like a Reuben (she makes her own pastrami so it only appears occasionally); Porchetta, classic egg salad, rare roast beef with horseradish cream and sometimes an Italian Deli style with mortadella among others.

She makes all her sauces and dressings, her own pickles for most things and her own fresh mayonnaise. “There’s nothing better than homemade mayo.”

As we move into summer we can look forward to sandwiches with fresher summer ingredients to go alongside the slices, cookies, wedges of Spanish Basque cheese cake (there’s no base so gets its flavour from the baked and burnt outside), Key Lime pies (single serve size individual pies) and classic cheese scones.

There’s always gluten free options, “the savoury gluten free bacon and egg muffin with a whole egg inside is so popular I can’t take it off the menu.” She says she has lots of ideas and recipes for other products, but she just needs time to make them.

Kimberley says it’s very early days, “I’ve only been open two months but going really well, I sell out of food a lot of the time and have a lot of repeat customers. People ask about buying the bread, but at the moment I don’t have time to make it for sale. I’m just one person with help from my big brother to do the dishes on the odd Friday, but I will be doing more when I am able to employ someone to help me.”

If you haven’t discovered Someday Somewhere yet it is time you did. My top tip is to buy your sandwich mid-morning because if you wait until lunchtime you may miss out!

Published in the Nelson Mail 15.11.2023 

Sari Hodgson 2011 - Savage and Savage

A Way Forward

It is now seven months since we lost Sari, time has just flown by but at the same time her loss seems so fresh. And not just for me, many clients worked with Sari as their financial and business advisor for more than 30 years so we know you all miss her guidance and friendly face as much as we do in the office.

While we can never replace Sari’s personality and client knowledge we can replace her skills. That is something I have had a real focus on when looking for the right buyer for the business.

I was determined not to sell the business to the highest bidder, I wanted to find someone with the same ethos as Sari and me when it comes to putting clients and staff first. Some of you will have already met Susan Cooper who has been working from our offices for the last six weeks or so; I have decided that Susan is the right person for us to work with. I say ‘us’ because it is a decision I have made with advice and guidance from the staff at Savage & Savage.

Susan is a Chartered Accountant with her own sole-practitioner business – Susan Cooper Chartered Accountants. Susan’s business has a very similar client profile to ours and it has grown to the stage she needs some office support, something we can help her with. Susan and I have agreed on the terms of sale and we expect her to take over the business on  the 31st January 2024 with a new brand to be launched a month or so later. There are many details she needs to take care of, things like new branding, new website, new signage etc so she is going to take her time rather than rushing things at this time of the year.

Susan has also asked me to remain with the business to help her manage the process of combining the two  businesses, so I will still be hanging around the office every day. You are all very welcome to contact me if you have any queries about the sale process, but it is our intention to make everything as seamless as possible for clients, both ours and Susan’s.

Susan and I will be hosting some client functions in the new year so you will have the chance to meet her, and her clients can be introduced to our office and staff.

Sari’s passing was the end of an era for the Savage family as we move forward with a new owner for the business. I have established a small annual prize in her name for the top accounting student at Waimea College where her father and founder of Savage & Savage, Noel Savage, was the chairman of the board back in the 1960’s and where Sari and her brothers went to school. Supporting students is something Sari has done for many years and it is a privilege for me to be able to continue this support in a small way.

Thank you all for your kind words about Sari and your support over the last seven months, I appreciate so much.

Kind regards


Sari Hodgson FCA 1960-2023

Firstly, thank you to the many, many people who have sent cards, emails and texts to me and our staff acknowledging Sari’s sudden and unexpected passing in April and the contribution she made to so many businesses and community organisations over a lot of years.

As a Chartered Accountant Sari’s focus was always on her clients first, she always had a smile for them and always made sure they got the best advice possible. While I knew this, I have been humbled by the many emails I have received expressing how Sari changed people’s businesses and lives, how important she was to her clients and how much they trusted her wisdom and judgement.

It goes without saying we all miss Sari a lot. Her guidance as a mentor to many staff over the last 35+ years, her advice to clients (many of whom thought of Sari as a friend as well as a trusted adviser), her tax knowledge and her bright, welcoming personality will never be able to be replaced. However, as a business we do have plans for a future without her.

But before I talk about that many people will be wondering what happened to Sari.

She never hid the fact she was a type 1 diabetic, but she also never let it rule her life. She would often say ‘it lives in my house, I don’t live in its house’. Because she was diagnosed with diabetes when she was just three years old she didn’t know any different and she just got on with life.

Her health issues in the last eight years stemmed from being prescribed methotrexate to help with the RSI pain in her hands. Unfortunately, this particular drug has a side effect she wasn’t aware of, Methotrexate Pneumonitis (pneumonia brought on by the drug) compromised her lung function. The result was she had only about 50% lung function since 2015 and this compromised her quality of life far more than her diabetes did.

Because of her compromised lung function we kept Sari at home to be safe from Covid, she was feeling as well as she had for some time and was getting ready to come back to the office at the end of May.

Sadly, as a result of the compromised lung function she had developed a clot in her lung that broke free and caused cardiac arrest.

Now and the future

To make sure we can provide the very best advice to our clients while also meeting the requirements of CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand) we have put a caretaker Chartered Accountant (Barry Signal CA) in place to check everything we do and sign off accounts etc. We have engaged the services of Geoff Falloon, a tax expert, to provide tax advice to our staff and clients. Both are people we have worked with before and who Sari had a lot of respect for.

Moving forward I intend to take care of our clients and staff in the same way Sari would have. While I have inherited this business I can’t own the firm and it remain a Chartered Accountancy business, something that was important to Sari.

I will need to sell it in due course but rather than selling a client and fee base to a larger firm, as we are seeing a lot of at the moment, I am looking for someone with the right experience and personality to buy the business over time. I will retain a small shareholding and the new person can just buy the business over a few years. I will also stay involved in the business, I’m not going to just sell it and walk away.

My hope is that this will give a younger person the opportunity to own an established business. Creating an opportunity for someone is something Sari would have wanted to do.

Another option is to merge with another small, client focused, Chartered Accountancy business that shares a similar sense of supporting our community.

First and foremost, I intend to make a decision with the help of our staff, sometime in the next few months, that is in the very best interests of our clients.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. I am in the office every day from about 8am until about 1.30pm or later as needed and can be contacted by email anytime.

Neil Hodgson


Business Assist and Mentoring

Some of you may not be aware of a service that supports businesses in the area and is subsidised by  councils. Nelson Tasman Business Trust (Business Assist) is exactly what it says – they exist to help businesses, small and large.

You simply make contact through their website . You will be offered a free consultation and they will outline how they can help. They hold workshops on subjects such ass Digital Marketing, Wellness, Leadership and Succession planning on a regular basis. There are many more subjects covered besides. Most of these training sessions are either free or have a small cover charge.

Business Assist also have a Networking morning tea every month. So you can meet other business owners and share any wins, problems, or successes. Meeting other business owners makes you much less isolated.

NZ Business Mentoring

If you need more personalized help they can offer business Mentoring in conjunction with Business Mentors NZ. Call Business Assist or register at online for a mentor. Gina will assess your needs and find a match of skills that you are missing. Sometimes it is easier to work with someone who is less emotionally involved with your business and give you good practical help.  “The experienced and independent viewpoint of a Mentor is invaluable”.

It may be that you need to grow your business and need direction as to how; or you may be a newbie to Digital Marketing and need some help with that; you may need help with a specific project.

“Having a Mentor inspires confidence and gives clarity on the direction of the business.”

Having been in business myself and used the services of a Mentor, I can highly recommend them.

Just remember you are not alone in this journey, use the services of lawyers, accountants and places like Business Assist to help you along in business.

Spotlight on 185 Hope

185 Hope is a market garden and farm shop owned by Gavin Williams and Angela Penman since 2003 – 20 years ago!

Gavin and Angela originally had market gardens and a farm shop established by Gavin’s family on Main Rd Stoke near Placemakers. When industry started to expand, they bought land at 185 Main Rd Hope and relocated everything to there, including glasshouses.

They saw a niche where people wanted to shop for good quality, locally grown fruit and vegetables. The farm shop has grown from strength to strength and is the worst kept secret amongst locals who want to buy locally grown quality fruit and veggies at great prices.

You simply arrive at 185, located at 185 Main Rd Hope with plenty of parking available, pick up a wheelbarrow (no fancy trolleys here!!) and peruse the fantastic array of locally grown veggies available. At certain times of the year, you can go and pick your own, or fill your own bucket or bag with succulent already picked tomatoes, onions, or other pickling ingredients.

Our staff at Savage & Savage enjoy shopping at 185 and some of us source all the ingredients for some lovely preserves each year. The shop is open Fridays till 4.30pm all year around and in peak season – December-April – 9am-5pm Weekdays.

Take this great opportunity to support locally grown produce employing many local people. Check out their Facebook page. PYO@185Hope

Karin has given us her favourite (and easy) pickling recipe for Pickled Zucchini. It is delicious!!!

Karin’s Pickled Zucchini 

6 medium – large Zucchini – sliced to about 4-6mm thick. I use a small mandolin. 

Good handful of plain salt

2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

150ml White vinegar

3/4 C Caster sugar

1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar

1/4 tsp ground Turmeric powder

Slice the Zucchini and place in a colander and mix the salt through thoroughly. Leave for 30 – 60 mins. Have a glass of wine.

Rinse off salt and pat dry, then squeeze as much water as you possibly can out of the zucchini. A muslin cloth works well or just an old teatowel. Pack the squeezed zucchini into sterilised jars (about 3 or 4 peanut butter size).

Put a small pot on to warm and add the mustard seeds and dry-fry until they just start to pop. Quickly add the vinegars, sugar and turmeric and bring to the boil. Pour hot liquid into the jars over the squeezed zucchini right to the brim and put the lid on. Leave for a couple of weeks. I use these in salads, sandwiches, cheese boards and platters. Always a big hit!!!

Have another wine….


Spotlight on business : The Framing Rooms

The Framing Rooms and Quiet Dog Gallery

Making your artworks look really special is what Gill Starling and James Taylor aim for at The Framing Rooms.  The skills of five people combine to give customers a fabulous service.  They frame everything you may want to hang on your walls. They frame fine art through to posters, certificates, photography, memorabilia and sports jerseys. The Framing Rooms are the preferred framers for many of the region’s collectors, galleries and local artists.  Two of the team are Guild Commended Framers so you can be sure that your valuable pieces are in safe hands.  The business occupies an amazing warehouse space facing the Wakatu Car Park and customers can see the team at work.  Also in the building is the Quiet Dog Gallery (their sister business) which specialises in contemporary art by artists from around New Zealand.  Exhibitions happen every month so it’s well worth calling in on a regular basis.  Check out their website or better still, Call in and see the fantastic art they have on display


There has been a lot of noise made by the government lately about E-Invoicing. There seems to be a lot of confusion and people think that if they are already sending their invoices by e-mail they are e-invoicing, so what is the big deal? Actually E-Invoicing is a little different. And it is not an advantage for everyone….

E-Invoicing explained.

E-Invoicing goes one step further than sending invoices by email. Xero, MYOB and a few other accounting packages now have the ability to send the invoices directly into your accounting software. So there’s no need to print or manually key incoming invoices into your software package. They simply show up in your “Draft” Bills to pay in Xero for example. From there you allocate them to the correct code “Cost of goods sold” for example and approve them if you agree. This follows on from our last post explaining that physical copies of many invoices will no longer be required by IRD from next year.

What is the advantage?

The main advantage for our clients, is that for your regular suppliers, you will no longer need to print off or key in creditor invoices from registered suppliers. You just approve them. No more losing invoices to junk mail, no more endless hours of keying bills, no more clogged up inboxes.

What do you need to do?

Here is the catch, and this depends on your own business and how many suppliers you have.

  1. Enter your own NZBN into your own software (For Xero – Settings/Organisation Settings). Do this once only
  2. Sign up to e-invoicing (for Xero we can do this for you or talk you through this, it takes about 5 minutes. Please note the Xero online instructions available are not yet applicable). Again, you only need to do this once.
  3. Find out if your bigger suppliers have signed up too. There is a handy little Excel spreadsheet of those already signed up on the link at the bottom of the page
  4. Enter your suppliers NZBN number in your contacts (it is on that spreadsheet mentioned above). This will take the longest, so I would recommend doing just one or two first, and see how you like it.
  5.  Send your supplier an email letting them know your NZBN number and that you would like to receive e-invoices. Job done!!!

Your invoicing

You can also send your invoices via the same route, but if your customers are mostly non business people, there is a lot of work for not much advantage.

If you invoice regularly to other businesses, you may get requests to sign up.

Regardless of what you decide to do, e-invoicing is here to stay, and it would be prudent (and time saving for the future) if you were to include a businesses NZBN number into every new contact you enter into your software. The link below also tells you which software companies have the capacity to e-invoice. They are using a global company PEPPOL. You can continue to use Hubdoc (provided free by Xero) if you are using this currently – this is also a good option, but to use this you forward on emailed invoices to Hubdoc and then insert them into Xero. The advantage of this is that if you go to look at a supplier invoice that was entered via Hubdoc, you can see the original invoice emailed to you in Xero.

We can explain more in detail if you are interested.


Neudorf’s growing legacy among the Moutere vines

As Neudorf Vineyards celebrate the release of the 40th vintage of their iconic Moutere Chardonnay I can’t help reflect on how impressed I am by the way Tim and Judy Finn have allowed the business to evolve so it can prosper into the future, hopefully for the next 40 years.

I use the term ‘evolved’ because many successful businesses just keep to the same winning formula, but in the case of Neudorf, Tim and Judy recognised the need for a controlled, planned evolution rather than being reactive to market changes.

Last week I caught up with marketing and sales director Rosie Finn and Todd Stevens, Neudorf’s general manager and winemaker.

Rosie told me that Tim and Judy live on site and have taken on an oversight or board level role to guide the strategic direction of the business.

“They leave the day-to-day running of the business to Todd and me, but they’re there as sounding boards when we need some advice,” says Rosie.

“They have been doing this for more than 40 years, so they have an incredible depth of knowledge about the industry.”

Tim and Judy have always had a future focus for their business, from buying land years before it was needed to expand their vineyard plantings, to planting small research blocks to see which varieties will deliver the best wines on their land all the way to installing solar panels that provide all the power the business needs during the day.

Todd says solar power is one aspect of preparing the business for the future, producing enough power to run the whole operation.

“The overall goal is to store the power we generate in order to be fully self-sufficient. Battery technology will get better and more cost-effective allowing us to do that in the future.”

Looking to the future

A significant commitment Neudorf made several years ago was to convert to organic production rather than being a sustainable winegrowing operation.

“We’re totally organic across all 20ha of the home vineyards that include the original Home Block around the winery, the adjoining Tom’s Block and Rosie’s Block located just around the corner” says Todd. “We do buy in some fruit for our Tiritiri (to grow) range and that fruit isn’t always organic, but they are certainly sustainably grown grapes.”

Neudorf Vineyards produce some of the finest Chardonnay wines in New Zealand and the variety is the backbone of the business, however, Todd says “we recently expanded the plantings at Rosie’s Block to include more Albarino and a little more Chardonnay.

“We’ve always been known for Chardonnay, but especially for the Home Block Moutere Chardonnay (previously called Moutere Chardonnay).”

Rosie said “we think of ourselves as a chardonnay house rather than a producer of one well-known Chardonnay. Our other blocks produce some fantastic fruit and after farming it for a number of years we understand what each vineyards gives us to work with.

“That means we can identify the best parcels of fruit within a block, and even within rows, that in turn gives us the ability to make different styles of Chardonnay.”

As the winemaker Todd says they actually use very similar winemaking techniques across the range.

“We want the vineyards and natural fruit characters to shine, so it’s our job to guide the fruit through the most appropriate winemaking process to allow the finished wine to express the very best characters of the vineyards.

“Our chardonnays are 100% barrel fermented (with the exception of the Amphora Chardonnay),” he says.

“Over the years we have pulled back on the use of new oak barrels as we felt that it sat on top of the wine and as a result you saw something from France … not Upper Moutere.

“We still use some new oak but it’s at the lower levels. We want to create a wine experience that is so much more than just one vineyard, we want to express particular elements of each block in our wines.”

Becoming Iconic

A couple of years ago, the team at Neudorf restructured the portfolio of wines they produce.

“We wanted more definition around the wines we produce. Just saying ‘Moutere Chardonnay’ doesn’t differentiate the special characters of the Neudorf vineyards,” says Todd.

“There are other producers of chardonnay in the Moutere so we wanted to ensure our wines are identified with specific pieces of land, especially the three home blocks. Then we put an additional focus on the Tiritiri brand to differentiate those wines from our home block wines.”

Another reason for the planned evolution of the Neudorf business is the need to manage production as vines are either replanted or replaced with other varieties.

It takes about four to five years to get a full crop from young vines “and a lot can happen during that time, especially as we only get one chance a year to see the results of our trials,” says Todd. “

You need to have a pretty good idea of what you want to achieve in the long term.

“Changes in the vineyard take a long time so there needs to be a future-focused planting and replanting programme.”

Ensuring they continue to deliver the Neudorf Vineyards characteristics in every wine the team make doesn’t mean they have stopped trying new things to extract the best wine experience from the grapes they grow.

New Techniques

Over the last few years they have been using clay amphora (egg-shaped fermenters) that bring a different dimension to the flavours and textures of the wines. This is all part of the planned evolution of Neudorf Vineyards.

Rosie says “we can use different techniques like the amphora to add another wine style to our portfolio. These are all still Neudorf wines, we just use slightly different winemaking techniques to highlight the characters of the fruit and the land.”

She also says that during the Covid pandemic there’s been a real appreciation of how lucky the region is.

“After Covid, we have a new-found focus on customers through the cellar door, we’re producing slightly less but are focused on really high quality.”

And that tells me Neudorf Vineyards is in the right hands to guide it through the next 40 years until eight-month-old Freddy is ready to take over from Rosie, his mum.

Latest releases of Neudorf Chardonnay

Neudorf Rosie’s Block Amphora Chardonnay 2021 RRP $50

Fermented in clay amphora vessels this is a beautifully textured wine with an elegant palate weight. Ripe acidity adds freshness to the finish while a mineral character holds everything together.

Fermenting the wine in an amphora is about texture in the wine, the heat convection that occurs naturally in the amphora during fermentation keeps the yeast lees suspended in the wine, and that gives a different dynamic to the lees-to-wine contact. This wine is simply delicious with classic Neudorf characters. 4.5 stars

Neudorf Home Block Moutere Chardonnay RRP $90

I have seen the style of this wine evolve over the years as consumer tastes changed and Neudorf put more focus on expressing the vineyard characteristics of the original vineyard block, I have to say the 2021 vintage is an exceptional wine.

The 2021 vintage was very small in the region but the concentration from a smaller crop shines in this wine. The aromas are refined and elegant while the full palate weight and elegant fruit flavours are enhanced with linear acidity that carries through the palate. I always find exceptional wines difficult to describe but the underlaying power and balance of this wine creates a wine experience rather than just a nice glass of wine. 5 stars

Support your local hospitality businesses

We all know a lot can happen in a very short time and things have changed significantly for people I wrote about in the last two weeks; firstly I spoke to a number of winery owners to find out what was happening with this year’s vintage and they were all very happy but said they didn’t need too much rain!

It just shows that when you a working in the horticulture sector and relying on Mother Nature to play nicely, she doesn’t always get the message. Ex-cyclone Dovi has delivered a huge amount of rain and warm air that will have an impact on the grape harvest this year, the quality of which is going to be determined by how much bright sunshine and drying wind we get in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed!

Water played a big part on the day my article about The General Grocery Store in St Vincent St was published too, this time it was a burst waterpipe that saw thousands of litres of water flood the premises stopping them from trading for a few days just as I told you to go and check them out.

Things are back to normal this week so make sure you stop in support this fantastic local store.

In recent weeks I have also stayed in touch with a few restaurants, café’s and retail stores in the region to see how they are fairing now summer holiday visitors have returned home, the answer from everyone has been the same; things are very quiet and because of concern about the appearance of Omicron locals are just staying home.

I certainly don’t want to minimise the impact of the Omicron variant of Covid, it does have the potential to put a huge amount of pressure on our health systems, but I firmly believe we need to get on with our normal lives as much as possible.

It is still safe to go out for a meal or a drink, it’s safe to visit retail stores and you can certainly buy your lunch from one of the many food outlets in the region. You just need to be sensible and go to places that have good Covid practices in place.

We have some fantastic restaurants, bars and cafes in this region and if we don’t support them some, if not many, will be laying off staff, reducing opening hours or simply close permanently and that would be a huge loss for the region.

There are a few hospitality venues that I’m sure will get through these tough times, simply because they are outstanding at what they do, but it won’t be easy. That was reinforced last week when the Cuisine Good Food Awards were announced.

In this region three businesses were highlighted as outstanding examples, Urban Eatery Restaurant & Bar, Hawker House & Bar, and Hopgood’s & Co made the exclusive Chefs Hats list. The Chefs Hats are New Zealand’s version of Michelin Stars, they shine a light on businesses that deliver a high quality hospitality experience consistently, that means these are places you can rely on to be great every time you visit.

You can read about the Cuisine Good Food Awards at and when you do you will see that Urban Eatery Restaurant & Bar and Hawker House & Bar earned One Chefs Hat once again while Hopgood’s & Co not only retained their Two Hat status but also won a category award, the Pead. sponsored Food Legend/Long-Term Player Award.

Hopgood’s & Co chefs Aaron Ballantyne, left, and Kevin Hopgood

The judges said “Familiarity breeds contentment in the long-term partnership of owner Kevin Hopgood and head chef Aaron Ballantyne. They’ve been working together for 15 years and the harmony is reflected in what they produce. Consider the finish, for starters: a dessert of 70% chocolate mousse with cherry, amaretto and caramelised milk gelato. Flavour and texture explode from each component and with all the colours of a Chardin painting it’s an illustration of something particularly fabulous. The predecessors are equally impressive, such as our fish of the day – hake – which Kevin had brined on arrival to help it keep its form. Sautéed artichoke and crisp cauliflower made a great counterpoint. Everything is taken into account, from the sparkling glassware to the gracious oversight of the dining room. Hopgood’s has that magic capacity to make you feel that dining out is something to delight in.”

The Food Legend/Long-Term Player Award recognises the commitment they have made to the food and hospitality industry over many years, they lead by example. Kevin Hopgood, Head Chef, Aaron Ballantyne, and all their staff go to work every day to create dining magic and this award is something they can be immensely proud of.

The same can be said about the owners and staff at Urban Eatery Restaurant & Bar, Hawker House & Bar and every other hospitality business in the region. These are people who go to work every day to make tasty food for you and me to enjoy. Many hospitality and retail operators I have spoken with in the last couple of weeks tell me it has been the quietest weeks since they have been in business, some for 20 years plus.

As I said earlier, we need to support every business in the region or many will close. All you need to get on with your life is a vaccine pass (I note 95% of Nelsonians are eligible for it) and take sensible precautions. You don’t need to hide away, but if you’re not comfortable going out for any reason then make sure you do your on-line shopping with Nelson businesses. Also keep an eye out for click & collect offerings from food retailers, restaurants and cafes.

Shopping local has never been more important.

Published in the Nelson Mail 16.02.22

Covid-19 protocols in our office

The new Covid-19 traffic light system introduced by the Government has caused much confusion, however, despite that and now that Covid-19 has emerged in the Nelson region it is important we all take sensible precautions to avoid spreading the virus.

We have decided we will be open for anyone to visit our office without a Vaccine Passport, however if you are unwell or have any cold-like symptoms or other illness please refrain from coming to the office.

We are able to meet with you via a Zoom meeting if required and are always available to be contacted by phone and email.

If you are not double-vaccinated please advise us on arrival and ensure you wear a mask, if you are double-vaccinated we do not require you to wear a mask if you are just dropping something off but would prefer everyone wears a mask in meetings.

Either way, when you visit our office please sign in or scan the Covid-19 QR Tracing Code displayed in the office, even if you are only dropping something off.

We are required by law to ensure we record the details and time of visit for everyone who enters our office.


We have always offered visitors to our office a freshly brewed tea or proper coffee, however, the new Covid-19 protocols means we are unable to offer these refreshments at this time.

We do have a water cooler with disposable cups visitors are welcome to use and, of course, you can always bring your ow hot drink.

If you don’t like these protocols please remember our staff are just doing what is required by law.

The most important thing to remember is to be sensible, be safe and be kind.