Dunedin restaurant Pier 24, at St Clair Beach, has apologised to Havoc Farm Pork, after its staff told a customer it used free-range Havoc pork, when it did not.
The Valentine's Day customer was Havoc Farm's sales manager, who knew Havoc did not supply Pier 24.
Under previous owners, the 26-room Hotel St Clair's restaurant Pier 24 won several culinary awards.
While dining at Pier 24, Havoc's sales manager asked staff about the source of the"free-range pork" offered on the menu, and was told it was Havoc. Staff then admitted it wasn't,
once the manager identified herself.
Havoc Pork founder Linda McCallum sent a Dunedin lawyer's letter to Pier 24 asking it to "cease and desist" from telling customers Havoc pork was on its menu.
"Pier 24 has a good reputation. How long have people been dining there, thinking they're eating local pork and it's actually not," she said, after contacting the Otago Daily Times about the issue.
"It's not our pork, because we don't supply them," she said.
Pier 24's Auckland lawyer Joseph Kim of Morrison Kent said yesterday a"mistake was made" on February 14 when the waitress and duty manager told the customer the meat was Havoc pork.
"This is a genuine mistake for which our client [Hotel St Clair] unreservedly apologises," Kim said to both Havoc and the ODT.
Kim cancelled an interview between the ODT and Pier 24's owners, scheduled for today.
The company Hotel St Clair Ltd is 50:50 owned by Gun Kim and Jeong Kim, of Dunedin, and was incorporated in November 2015, according to Companies Office records.
Joseph Kim offered to answer any further questions from the ODT on behalf of Hotel St Clair but did not respond to emailed ODT questions on the source of Pier 24's pork or whether it was free-range.
McCallum said she was "angered" not only that Havoc's brand was allegedly being used illegally, but that Pier 24 restaurant customers had been duped into thinking they were buying locally sourced products.
Her lawyer's letter outlined that Havoc's reputation was for supplying "high quality, humanely raised and butchered pork".
"The reputation of these products is vital to [Havoc]," the lawyer said.
Havoc's crate-free free-range pork is grown with minimal intervention between sows and litters, without antibiotics or growth promotants, and some products are nitrate and gluten free.
Pier 24 is part of the Hotel St Clair, which was sold by co-developers Calder Stewart to Korean interests in February 2016, having been on the market since mid-2014.
The value of the multimillion-dollar deal was undisclosed. The hotel's rateable value at the time was $6.85 million, plus an adjoining section, which was valued at $765,000. The hotel opened in December 2009 and was named Best New Hotel 2010 by the Hospitality Association of New Zealand.