More News

NZChefs elect new leader

Read time: 3 Min
New Zealand, 02nd September 2014

Following the recent AGM of NZChefs we are pleased to announce that Mr Graham Hawkes from the Otago/Southland Branch has been elected into the position of National President of NZChefs.

Graham brings a wealth of experience to the NZChefs National Executive having previously been a Continental Director for WorldChefs in the Pacific Region; he is also an internationally accredited culinary judge. Coupled with Life membership of NZChefs, Member of NZChefs Hall of Fame, Honorary Member of WorldChefs and being the Inaugural recipient of HNZ Hospitality Industry Personality Award, puts him in a convincing position to become the new President. In additional a strong and passionate depth and understanding of working within hospitality associations.

Graham said “I feel very fortunate to still work as a chef at the kitchen pass and have no less passion for the Culinary Arts than I did when I entered this most satisfying profession. I have led, learnt and listened and now feel better than ever equipped to lead and support NZChefs into the future.” He went on to state that “I want to foster young people’s interest in the art of cookery by enjoyment of cooking and then developing their culinary skills and knowledge in our profession. Our membership has a strong command of the art of cookery and it’s time we shared this with others for the greater advancement of all.”

Graham with his wife Glenise and their family operate Paddington Arms, a Gastro Pub, in Invercargill. This is Southland’s most award-winning eatery which has been operated for nearly twenty two years. He has also over the years, with his extended family, operated a number of hospitality outlets in Invercargill; three contract catering, two licensed restaurants and an entertainment centre.  During that period they employed more than eighty full time staff, twenty permanent part time staff along with several casual team members. Graham said “To succeed with five operations in differing premises and styles we adopted a management style of a “good working chef”, allowing team members to maximise their potential through their own drive and passion with our guidance, with praise for the accomplishments and a quick band aid and encouraging advice for any slip ups. A style we still adopt today in our business practices.” He also assists Beef + Lamb NZ and the Alliance Group Limited as their consulting chef.

The new Presidium will start their term with a strategic planning meeting to map out the future development of the association under his leadership. Graham said “We have an incredible team of dedicated people on board already, and I feel my inclusive style of management and mentoring will enhance the opportunities for others on the National Executive to play their part. We need to continue to grow our membership and attract and retain not just our youth but also our successful chefs who can be our ambassadors both for the association, our country and for our hospitality industry.”

Following an outstanding six year contribution to NZChefs, Anita Sarginson, as the immediate past president, moves into the position of National Ambassador for a two year term.  The Association will retain her expertise as part of the National Executive and she will be able to continue with some of the initiatives started during her term.  


NZChefs is the “National Association” representing professional chefs, cooks and trainees, patissiers and confectioners in New Zealand.

The association is made up of regional branches around New Zealand. These branches allow chefs to help fellow chefs both nationally and internationally. The branches hold regular meetings and are active within their regions and at a nation level. Members consist of people with a passion for food and represent a wide range of professions associated with the industry.

NZChefs has a Charitable Trust which has been established in New Zealand to represent the “Humanitarian Focus” of the WorldChefs.  The WorldChefs mission states “Everyone on the planet should have access to food and water that is healthy, safe and sufficient.  This can only happen if the earth is healthy first.” In New Zealand we will focus on Poverty, Health and Education to support the WorldChefs without borders mission.  If you can help us, we can help others in New Zealand.

WorldChefs is a global network of chefs associations founded in 1928 at Sorbonne in Paris. Today, this global body has 93 official chefs associations as members that represent over 10 million professional chefs worldwide. WorldChefs is dedicated to maintaining and improving the culinary standards of global cuisines. It accomplishes these goals through education, training and professional development of its international membership.

For further information please contact:

Carmel Clark – Communications Manager

New Zealand Chefs Association Inc.

101 Onehunga Mall, Onehunga

P O Box 24 057, Royal Oak, Auckland, 1345

Tel: 0800 692 433     Fax: 0800 692 432     Mobile: 027 488 1025

Email: [email protected]       Website:


More News

What are you looking for?

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors