A showcase of Hawke's Bay hospitality was on display last night as the finalists were named for this year's hospitality awards.
Four finalists were announced across 16 categories in the Masonic Hotel's Gatsby Room last night for this year's Hawke's Bay Hospitality Awards finalists.
The finalists had been nominated by Hawke's Bay's hospitality industry. The industry will vote for the finalists in each category to decide the winners, who will be announced at an awards ceremony at the MTG Century Theatre on May 19.
Food Hawke's Bay manager and Hawke's Bay Hospitality Awards organiser Vicky Rope was excited to unveil a new category at this year's awards; the Elephant Hill Outstanding Emerging Restaurant award.
"It's good to see new people coming through," Mrs Rope said.
"There are people we've seen before, because they're consistent and consistency is vital if you want to survive in this industry.
"But the new people we're seeing revitalise the awards," she said.
Mamacita director Liv Reynolds was "really satisfied" to see her restaurant announced as one of the four finalists in the new category.
Havelock North-based Mexican restaurant Mamacita opened in October last year.
"This is a huge achievement for us because it's based on the views of people in the same industry," Ms Reynolds said.
Mamacita was also announced as a finalist in Clearview Estate Winery Best Ambience and Style award and Restaurant Association Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant award.
Ms Reynolds was most excited about the emerging restaurant category because it would "set a platform" for Mamacita and it was an acknowledgement of how far they had come in five months of operation.
Also announced as a finalist in the emerging restaurant category was Ahuriri-based Mexican restaurant Mexi Mama.
"It's a small enough industry that we all know and support each other. We would be equally excited to see Mexi Mama take the award," Ms Reynolds said.
The award finalists would have the opportunity to vote for other finalists in each category before the awards ceremony in May.
Awards organiser Mrs Rope said the emerging restaurant category had been created due to an "influx" of new establishments in Hawke's Bay in the last 18 months.
The Hawke's Bay hospitality awards were in their seventh year and there was a huge turnout of fresh talent this year, Mrs Rope said.
"It shows people have confidence in the region and they have confidence in hospitality. This is about recognising those new establishments."
Food Hawke's Bay event support Adele Fitzgerald said it was "huge kudos" for an establishment to be announced as a finalist in the awards.
Finalists would probably display the certificates awarded last night to customers, Mrs Fitzgerald said.
Hastings-based Taste Cornucopia owner and head chef James Bec wasn't surprised by the other finalists announced in his category, for Sacred Hill Outstanding Chef.
"I could have guessed Dave," Mr Bec said.
David Griffiths, another finalist in the category, was from Mister D in Napier.
Mr Bec would not be drawn on whether he was wary of his competition.
"It's all a bit of fun. There are no big egos.
"We're just trying to get along and cook good food," Mr Bec said.