Sommelier – Kara Maisano
Young, talented, passionate, and by her own admission "obsessed with wine". With a real thirst for knowledge, Kara holds her WSET Diploma, is a COMS Certified Sommelier, a Vinitaly International Acadamy Italian Wine Ambassador and most recently awarded the prestigious Young Sommelier of the Year 2018 by Gourmet Traveller Wine.
Chef – Richard Maisano
Trained in Italy and Switzerland as a chef before immigrating to Melbourne, Richard opened Masani in 1983. Specialising in regional Italian dishes, fine wines and spirits for more than three decades, Masani has become synonymous with true Italian dining. Richard’s philosophy emphasizes seasonal fresh and local produce, crafted with classic techniques and flavours.
Chef – Eliot Thomas
Eliot was always destined to be a great chef, thanks to his Fijian roots and a childhood centred around a love for fresh ingredients and big flavours. He has worked his way around the world on super yachts, apprenticed by Stevie Parle at the Dock Kitchen and then went on to be Head Chef at Craft London. It was here he ran a bakery, butchery, smoke house, bee hives, vegetable patches and pickle room and incorporated all of these into menus for the restaurant. Moving to Wanaka in 2017, bringing all these talents to open his own catering truck Morsel - The Honest Food Co, with his wife and front of house manager Kate.
On a stunning north facing lifestyle block in Hawea Flat (15min drive from Wanaka) a grove of hazelnuts sits perfectly situated for wind protection and sun exposure. Steve Maluschnig planted the first trees at the same time he and his wife started their family, and now after much love, laughter and 20 years sells them locally and throughout the region. Hazelnuts can be used for sweet or savoury dishes and Team Melbourne took this versatile nut and incorporated it into their first course.
Gardener Paul Kummerow has transformed just over 1ha of unused farmland in the beautiful area of Hawea Flat into a productive organic vegetable garden that supplies local chefs. With a garden packed full of the best and freshest in-season produce, it made sense for Team Melbourne to go with an all vegetable menu.
The family owned Cardrona Distillery located in the stunning Cardrona Valley is fast gaining loyal followers and worldwide recognition. Producing traditional hand-crafted spirits in the time honoured way using only three ingredients - malted Scottish two-row barley, pure alpine water and yeast. While the whisky is ageing and it will be a few more years until it reaches maturation there is a full-bodied vodka 'The Reid" with intriguing malty biscuit and tropical fruit characters to try. An amazing uniquely rich orange liqueur 'Rose Rabbit' as well as "The Source" Gin Gold Medalist at the New York World Wine and Spirits Competition that is made up of locally foraged rosehip, together with traditional juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, lemon and orange zest.
Home to some of Central Otago’s oldest vines Rippon Vineyard sits on a unique and distinct parcel of land on the shores of Lake Wanaka. Cared for by the Mills family for over one hundred years, this winery is one of the most spectacular in the world! (honestly).
It has a rich and fascinating history and method of producing wine, organic since inception, biodynamic since 2003, using wild ferments of indigenous yeast Rippon produce fruit and wines which, like its people, are true to their place.
Jerusalem artichokes, hazelnuts, lovage. Matched with Rippon Riesling 2011
Paul’s garden vegetables, bagna cauda. Matched with Rippon mature wines Pinot Noir 2017
Warm chocolate, orange cream, rhubarb. Matched with Rippon Gamay 2017