Ramada Resort Reia Taipa Beach head chef Gareth Irwin and his staff are bracing themselves for the busiest time of the year, with the knowledge that they stand alongside the best in the restaurant business.
The resort has won a Beef and Lamb Excellence Award, its second in three years, after an exhaustive process that included twice hosting mystery judges.
"It's good to have on the wall," Mr Irwin said last week of the decorative plate now proudly displayed.
"It shows that we know what we're doing."
It actually means rather more than that. Beef and Lamb NZ says the awards acknowledge a consistently high standard of beef and lamb cuisine. Restaurants are not compared with each other in the assessment process, but are judged on their individual merits.
"Whenever you see the Beef and Lamb Excellence Award, you can expect tasty, skilfully composed and superbly presented beef and lamb dishes," it says.
Mr Irwin, an Aucklander who arrived at Taipa via Australia little over two years ago, after his predecessor had collected the resort's first award, said that while the preparation and presentation of the dishes — in Taipa's case black beef cheek and herb-encrusted lamb rump — were obviously critical, success demanded excellence from the entire team.
That included the waiting staff, who the judges expected to display considerable knowledge of what they were serving.
Meanwhile, he already had his sights on another award in 2018 — "It's a nice challenge," he said — confident that his team would once again meet the required standard.