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Former Michelin-rated restaurant staffer joins Queenstown eatery

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Award-winning True South Dining Room at The Rees Hotel in Queenstown has appointed Edward Johnson as Restaurant Manager. He joins Executive Chef, Ben Batterbury in the fine dining room effective immediately.

Coming from an extensive and varied hospitality background, the former staffer from a Michelin-rated restaurant in the United Kingdom moved back to New Zealand in 2017. Johnson has risen up the ranks from bar tending to Maitre D’ and is a former Accor Employee of the Year recipient during his employment at the Hotel St Moritz Queenstown.

Originally from Birmingham, he was drawn to True South’s international reputation as a must-do destination for serious fine wine connoisseurs and gourmet lovers when visiting New Zealand’s top tourism hub. "This is the ultimate for me - it’s where I can channel my passion for producing once-in-a-lifetime experiences. True South is certainly one of those places where you can make the memory of a meal last forever," Johnson says. 

Aside from his hands-on managerial approach, the Restaurant Manager is an expert espresso barista and creator of signature cocktails. One previous role involved mastering over 50 concoctions on the menu. He’s been known for spearheading drinks list revamps using only locally sourced premium products. Now at True South he’s savouring his access to over 500 different types of wines and being part of the restaurant’s booked out seasonal Winemaker Culinary Series Dinners.

"Now I’m relishing being part of a team in an environment where the focus is on all round excellence and using local ingredients that are ethically sourced."

True South is the only restaurant in Queenstown to ever be awarded the ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ two years running by revered US wine bible, Wine Spectator out of 3,500 award-winning lists from over 70 countries. Its extensive private cellar hosts one of the most comprehensive collections of fine Bordeaux wines in the Southern Hemisphere alongside international and local vintages.

Head Chef, Batterbury was voted best chef in the country in 2017 in the International Hotel and Tourism Industry Awards out of 2800 entries.

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