He's home and he's loving it.
Black Barn Bistro's new chef Regnar Christensen has been away from Hawke's Bay for 15 years "but now I'm home with my family and feel so lucky to be back in Hawke's Bay".
Regnar has been cooking for 16 years and was head chef at Wellington's Ortega Fish Shack. He was the youngest chef to receive a 'Hat' in the Cuisine Good Food Awards and went on to achieve two 'Hats' in the same position at Ortega Fish Shack.
"They are difficult to get so I was really happy."
Since starting at Black Barn Bistro in November, Regnar has completely revamped the menu.
Owner Henry Gordon said they have had an incredible response to the new menu from both locals and domestic diners.
"Regnar managed to revamp the menu in a week — a huge task while at the same time taking the reins of a restaurant of this size," Henry said.
Two things are high on the list for Regnar when it comes to his food.
"It has to be delicious and it has to be full of flavour. In fact the key focus for me is flavour first.
"I'm loving the fact that I can get so much fresh produce right here on our doorstep. It's a big change from Wellington. The local supply is incredible here, everything is at your fingertips. For instance we have world-class cheese a kilometre down the road, we get our beef from Matangi Station just down the road.
"In fact I would argue that Hawke's Bay has the best produce in New Zealand and as a chef it's exciting to be able to use it.
"I'm also getting a real kick out of cooking for people I know. Since I've been here I have run into people I went to school with and haven't seen for years. It definitely feels as if I am home."
Black Barn Bristo's new menu is described as modern New Zealand cuisine with a focus on seasonal, local produce.
Regnar says his favourite seasonal produce is winter.
"I love cooking with Jerusalem artichokes. They are simple to cook and are packed full of earthy flavour."
The bistro is set to launch some new and exciting options for diners.
Henry said they were always looking at ways to ensure they kept things fresh and moving forward.
"It's our duty as a well-known restaurant in the region to ensure we keep things exciting for our team and our locals," Henry said.
Every Wednesday there will be a children's after school dinner from 5pm. Three pasta dishes to select from at $15 each, the full menu will also be available.
Wednesday to Saturday from 4pm-6pm is Happy Hour with $2 oysters, and Sunday is Charcoal Day when Regnar will cook two dishes on the Kamado Joe Barbecue.
For more information go to www.blackbarn.com.