Last year Tony Stewart closed well-known restaurant Clooney after 13 years in Freeman's Bay - now he's returning at Amisfield in Queenstown.

He has moved closer to his roots, taking his brand of hospitality to Amisfield, one of Queenstown's drawcards if you are after a great wine and even better gastronomical experience.

Stewart recently started as food and beverage director at the bistro - and it's a sure bet he'll attract many of his previous loyal customers as Auckland connoisseurs of good living head down to the re-emerging winter wonderland.

The new role of directing - without the weight of ownership - will suit the Stewart, who suffers from cystic fibrosis.


"As I've been given a lot of time away from the industry recently, I've been able to think back to my many wonderful years at Clooney and all the incredible guests that I welcomed and made friends with over that time," Stewart wrote on Instagram.

"My new role at Amisfield allows me to take all those years of experience and use them to elevate the Amisfield offering," he says.

Stewart, who originally hails from Invercargill, is making sure people from the area know how important they have been to the restaurant before the tourists hit the town.

Before Clooney's, Stewart had the ultra-cool Match Bar in Auckland.

He says Amisfield has made some immediate changes, with the inclusion of an extensive bar menu, with cocktails created to accompany celebrity chef Vaughan Mabee's menu, which focuses on regional ingredients. Ashton wants to get NZ food noticed just like he once did to the masses in San Francisco during the last America's Cup and of course is championing "eat local and eat NZ".

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