New Zealand Embassy Washington, United States of America

New Zealand Embassy chef sweeps Washington’s Embassy Chef Challenge

From left: Cultural Tourism DC's Board Chair Tim Cox, Mrs Yvonne Moore, Chef Nathan Bates, Ambassador Moore and Michael Macklin celebrate the win.

New Zealand Embassy Chef Nathan Bates won Cultural Tourism DC’s 2013 Embassy Chef Challenge on Thursday, March 14, taking home awards in all three categories in a competition against eight other DC embassy chefs from China, El Salvador, Jamaica, South Korea, Norway, Russia, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.

Challenge Hungary, the first round of the competition, required the chefs to prepare a dish using a secret ingredient selected by last year’s winner Chef Viktor Merenyi of Hungary – the vine ripe tomato. The two other awards related to chefs presenting hors d’oeuvres that represent the essence of their country and culture. Attendees and professional judges each voted for their favourite dish and selected Chef Bates as the winner of both the People’s and Judge’s Choice Awards. Chef Bates’ winning dish was his roasted lamb cutlet with zespri kiwifruit, herb and manuka honey relish.

New Zealand Ambassador Mike Moore, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, and several other ambassadors were on hand to take in the action and enjoy the food. The event also featured a silent auction to which the New Zealand Embassy donated a basket of choice New Zealand wines.  Ambassador Moore was happy for his chef. “It’s quite incredible that he won all three categories. We couldn’t be prouder.”

“It was great to be able to represent New Zealand on the international stage,” said Chef Bates.  “Bringing the award to the southern hemisphere after it’s been won by European nations for the last few years is also an honour for us.” “The produce and ingredients, such as lamb and kiwifruit, speak for themselves and made it easy for me to create a dish that represents New Zealand cuisine.”  

Bates was born and trained in New Zealand and has been working as the Ambassador’s Residence Chef at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC since 2007. He was previously the executive chef at The George Hotel in Christchurch, running the acclaimed Restaurants Pescatore and 60 on Park, which both won several national and international awards. In 2005 he won the prestigious title of South Island Chef of the Year.

A Washington Post article featuring Chef Bates is forthcoming.


Media Clips



Embassy Chef Challenge 2013 Competition Wrap Up video

WTOP: 2013 Embassy Chef Challenge photo gallery


Out-of-season tomatoes stir global response at the Embassy Chef Challenge

Hungarian Chef Viktor Merényi on Pancakes, Paprikás

Everyone Wants to Meet Carla Hall at Embassy Chef Event

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