'MasterChef New Zealand' Judge Opens Restaurant

Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett opens Rātā in Queenstown, New Zealand

Josh Emett and Fleur Caulton

New Zealand’s Josh Emett, has opened Rātā in Queenstown, New Zealand. Emett, who also serves as a judge on MasterChef New Zealand and is one of two Michelin-starred chefs in New Zealand, opened the restaurant this summer with local restaurateur Fleur Caulton, who opened Solera Restaurant when she was just 21 years old.

Emett is best known for his involvement with the international Gordon Ramsay restaurant group, serving as executive chef at Gordon Ramsay’s London, New York, and West Hollywood restaurants, and he recently opened Gordon Ramsay’s first two restaurants in Australia.

Rātā is an edgy, neighborhood restaurant with a distinctly New Zealand décor, sunny courtyard, and bar, and a menu which incorporates locally sourced ingredients from nearby markets in traditional Central Otago dishes. The interior includes local polished stone and woods accents juxtaposed with industrial materials like concrete, glass, steel, and salvaged items.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and the menu includes bites like Alexandra wild thyme and garlic salami, mustard, and sourdough; smoked warehou croquettes with mustard and watercress; and goat cheese profiteroles with rata blossom honey; and starters like shaved celeriac, grapes, endive, hazelnuts, and Gruff Junction mature; and white onion and wild thyme soup with wild mushrooms.

"Queenstown’s cooler climate lends itself to the slow-cooked dishes and robust flavors I love and people can expect elegant, well-balanced, and inspired cuisine," said Emett.

The menu includes single portions and family-style entrées. Marinated aubergine with bulgar wheat, beurre noisette, and pine nuts; and beef fillet and cheek, shallots, carrot, horseradish, and creamed potato are on offer for one, while feasts for the entire table include slow-roasted Cardrona lamb shoulder with prune and spiced cauliflower, and whole roast rack of venison served with osso bucco pie and glazed carrots.

Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.