Waikato Business News August/September 2023

Waikato Business News has for a quarter of a century been the voice of the region’s business community, a business community with a very real commitment to innovation and an ethos of cooperation.

Waikato Business News has for a quarter of a century been the voice of the region’s business community, a business community with a very real commitment to innovation and an ethos of cooperation.

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Late Night Lounge Ernest dominates<br />

<strong>2023</strong> <strong>Waikato</strong> Hospitality Awards<br />

Hamilton Late Night Lounge Ernest,<br />

a trailblazing establishment in the<br />

<strong>Waikato</strong> hospitality scene, celebrated<br />

a resounding victory at the <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>Waikato</strong> Hospitality Awards.<br />


Winning an impressive<br />

four awards out<br />

of seven nominations,<br />

this outstanding achievement<br />

solidifies Ernest's status<br />

as an industry leader, marking<br />

them as the nightspot of choice<br />

for guests seeking an unparalleled<br />

bar experience.<br />

Since its grand opening in<br />

November 2021, Ernest has<br />

captivated guests with its distinctive<br />

blend of sit-down<br />

seating, top-tier service, and a<br />

curated selection of premium<br />

beverages spanning from delicious<br />

cocktails to exquisite<br />

wines.<br />

Among the accolades,<br />

Ernest bartender Roberto<br />

Valenzuela proudly secured the<br />

title of Outstanding Bartender.<br />

With over two decades of bartending<br />

experience, he has dedicated<br />

relentless effort to reach<br />

this milestone.<br />

“Creating unique experiences<br />

through my cocktails has<br />

always been a passion of mine.<br />

This award has been a long<br />

time coming and I am grateful<br />

for the recognition from my<br />

peers,” he says.<br />

Ernest also claimed Outstanding<br />

Front of House Team<br />

and Outstanding Bar. These<br />

awards serve as a testament to<br />

the unwavering commitment<br />

of the team to elevate the standard<br />

of service and hospitality<br />

in the <strong>Waikato</strong> region. However,<br />

the crowning achievement<br />

was the coveted Overall<br />

Supreme Award presented<br />

to the establishment with the<br />

highest number of nominations<br />

and votes, a great recognition<br />

of industry support.<br />

Craig Loveday the visionary<br />

behind Ernest says the team<br />

was thrilled and humbled to<br />

receive these awards.<br />

“It is a testament to the<br />

hard work and dedication of<br />

our team, who consistently go<br />

above and beyond to create a<br />

memorable experience for our<br />

guests. We look forward to continuing<br />

to push boundaries and<br />

raising the bar in the <strong>Waikato</strong><br />

hospitality scene."<br />

Ernest can be found at 30<br />

Alexandra Street, Hamilton,<br />

open Wednesday to Saturday<br />

from 4pm till late.<br />

Now there’s<br />

just the barbie<br />

to match with<br />

those sauces<br />


An enterprising Raglan<br />

couple who started out<br />

six years ago making<br />

their own brand of chimichurri<br />

sauce at the Raglan Old<br />

School Arts Centre kitchen are<br />

now about to launch locally a<br />

traditional style of woodfire<br />

barbeque from their native<br />

Argentina to help promote<br />

their products.<br />

The venture follows on<br />

from an Argentinian-style<br />

barbecue catering business<br />

which Ben Parodi and wife Ani<br />

have set up to push their popular<br />

range of sauces.<br />

Cooking with<br />

charcoal or wood<br />

gives a much<br />

better flavour than<br />

cooking with gas<br />

“We found that more and<br />

more people were asking<br />

about the barbeque itself,”<br />

Ben says.<br />

So on a recent trip back<br />

home Ben met with Asaparri<br />

– a factory specialising in<br />

products for cooking over fire<br />

– and as a result will launch at<br />

Labour Weekend a woodfire<br />

and charcoal barbeque that,<br />

he says, challenges the Kiwi<br />

idea of summertime-only outdoor<br />

cooking.<br />

He decided to import the<br />

barbecue himself because,<br />

unlike a gas barbecue, it has<br />

a firebox that keeps on burning<br />

and creating the embers<br />

on which to cook – in turn,<br />

evoking warmth and ambience<br />

for outdoor eating at<br />

any time.<br />

The fire transforms<br />

this method of cooking<br />

into a year-round event,<br />

Ben insists, and continues<br />

the South American<br />

tradition that he and Ani<br />

grew up with of socialising<br />

around a woodfire barbecue<br />

Diego Nicholson and Ben Parodi<br />

– specialty sauces at the ready.<br />

“The weather is not<br />

important, it’s the experience<br />

of being out,” says Ben. “And<br />

cooking with charcoal or wood<br />

gives a much better flavour<br />

than cooking with gas.”<br />

Ben and Ani’s business<br />

Salsa Brava started small in<br />

2017 with the idea of making<br />

and selling chimichurri –<br />

found originally in the cuisines<br />

of Argentina and Uruguay – as<br />

a way of sharing their culture<br />

through healthy food for Kiwi<br />

tables.<br />

The uncooked sauce using<br />

parsley, olive oil, oregano,<br />

garlic, onions and chilli began<br />

as something of a labour of<br />

love – the pair growing and<br />

chopping the parsley themselves<br />

from their home.<br />

Early on they travelled the<br />

country with up to 800 jars<br />

of the sauce stacked on top of<br />

their campervan in search of<br />

retail outlets.<br />

The rest is history, a range<br />

of their sauces now sold in in<br />

many outlets in the <strong>Waikato</strong>.<br />

While Ani in particular<br />

these days is busy with the<br />

couple’s two young children,<br />

Ben’s been getting all fired<br />

up about the barbeques Salsa<br />

Brava has imported to promote<br />

the sauces.<br />

He and fellow native<br />

Argentinian Diego Nicholson<br />

are currently showing off the<br />

woodfire barbecue at <strong>Waikato</strong><br />

Home & Garden Show, but<br />

will be back at Raglan doing<br />

demos in a fortnight.<br />

*Catch them Labour Weekend<br />

at The Hut in Rangitahi,<br />

Saturday October 21 at 10am.

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