Hospitality insiders took a rare evening off to honour the best in business at Hawke's Bays Hospitality Awards, last night.
Held at MTG Century Theatre, the seventh annual awards showcased outstanding winners from all 16 categories.
Voted by their peers, recipients had to put a tick in every box from service to consistency, quality and atmosphere.
Again the standard was high, with increased participation making the event even more competitive.
"The number of votes received this year was greater than last year, an endorsement that the industry values the awards as a means to support and recognise each other," event organiser Adele Fitzgerald said.
Another category was added for 2014, to recognise the number of high quality, up and coming restaurants making their mark on Hawke's Bay.
The Elephant Hill Outstanding Emerging Restaurant was introduced, to reflect the number of new establishments that have opened in the region in recent months.
With every establishment and their workers striving to offer their best, each category was keenly contested and the winners are to be congratulated on a job well done.
Mister D in Napier was a popular choice once again, coming up for seven awards and taking home three, Emporium Eatery & Bar was also in line for seven awards and won two, while Clearview Estate Winery took out all three categories it was nominated for.
Mister D staff were ecstatic to win the EIT Outstanding Front of House Team Award.
Mister D co-owner Prue Barton said she was extremely proud of her staff.
"I'm so proud of my team. We recruit the best team we can find and the puzzle has come together so magnificently this year," she said.
For the second year in a row, David Griffiths from Mister D scooped outstanding chef; Kim Davis from Deliciosa Tapas & Wine Room was named best Front of House Personality and Indigo in Napier can claim the title of Hawkes Bays most Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant.
Renowned chef Ben Bayly from The Grove and Baduzzi Restaurants in Auckland stepped in as judge for the NZ King Salmon sponsored Outstanding Supporting Chef category.
"I am really thrilled to see that three of the four finalists were young women all eager to do well in an intense industry," he said.
This category has now seen two winners from the kitchen of Jeremy Ramekas Pacifica Restaurant, with Harata Neera taking the honours this year.
A special award was presented to outgoing Food Hawke's Bay manager, Vicky Rope who introduced the Hospitality Awards to Hawke's Bay in 2008.
"Without this event there would be no benchmark for industry workers to strive to meet, as the awards serve to promote excellence in hospitality," Ms Fitzgerald said.
Winners were announced in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 300 hospitality staff at an awards ceremony, followed by an after function with colleagues at East Pier in Ahuriri.