Hospitality queen Judith Tabron is back — and she's got company.

Tabron, who sold last year sold Viaduct institution Soul Bar after 20 years at the helm, will team up with Aussie-based, Irish-born chef and restaurateur Colin Fassnidge for the new TVNZ 2 show My Restaurant Rules

The pair will head the judging table for the new reality show aimed at finding New Zealand's best out-of-the way restaurant.

Combining Tabron's tour de force style with Fassnidge (the "scary" judge from My Kitchen Rules Australia) is likely to create some fireworks.


Tabron told Spy she was using her experience — thinking back to her roots at the Logan Park Hotel.

"Working there, I had a lot of monotonous food preparation to do, but the good thing is that I've never forgotten how. Boning meat, chickens and fish was part of everyday life, as was cutting and cooking numerous vegetables.

"Making and crumbing 20 kilos of croquette potatoes was so boring and took hours. I had to set myself time challenges to remain interested or throw some in the rubbish bin if no one was watching."

The new show will see five local restaurants battling it out for $100,000 and the bragging rights to say their restaurant rules.

The eateries are from Nelson, Katikati, Lyttleton, Auckland and Waiouru. Each team of two — the chef and front of house manager — will take turns cooking for the four other teams and the judges in the hope of making an impression in the competition and taking home the win.

Fassnidge, who owns two leading restaurantsd across the ditch, said they found some truly great food — but also lots of ego, some jaw-dropping comments and some good rivalries.

"Each restaurant offered something different, depending on where they are, so we went to see if they deliver on what they've promised," he said.

Tabron loved working with such a seasoned professional like Fassnidge and together they travelled across the country to judge the restaurants, all of which were nominated by locals for the competition earlier this year.


The show premieres on September 30. As well as the restaurant talent and promised drama, Spy will be watching the chemistry between Tabron and Fassnidge — we reckon the TV duo could turn Auckland up a notch with a combined eatery.