In 2021, Hawke’s Bay Tourism announced its search for a food legend – a visionary who has helped shape New Zealand’s Food and Wine Country into the amazing playground for foodies that it is today – and Sir Graeme Avery of Sileni Estates was crowned the inaugural legend for his lasting impact on the landscape of food tourism. In November, Hawke’s Bay Tourism will announce the winner of the 2022 legends award at the opening night of the 2022 F.A.W.C! Summer Series, and what a diverse and hugely talented line-up of nominees we have had to choose from this year. Here is a taste of just a few, with some words from their nominators as to why they deserve to win.

Kim Thorp,

Black Barn Vineyards
“When you hear the name Kim Thorp, you associate it with being a legend. He has put the region on the map from a food and wine perspective.”

A pioneer in the establishment of wine, food and accommodation offerings of supreme quality, Kim Thorp’s vision and influence extends far beyond his own business. Instrumental in the development and branding of Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Country, Kim has worked quietly in the background supporting the development of a multitude of ideas that have gone on to become venues, attractions and events that contribute greatly to the growth of the region as an exciting option for people who really love to eat and drink.

Rod McDonald and Jo Throp,

Te Awanga Estate
“He is Mr. Syrah. Nothing more needed to be said. World’s best right in Hawke’s Bay. Jo is the endlessly positive and cheerful full-time promoter of Te Awanga wines and the whole Hawke’s Bay vibe.”

From nine years as winemaker at Vidal Estate to the creation of Rod McDonald Wines (which has now become Te Awanga Estate), Rod is not only an award-winning winemaker who has made the prestigious Master Winemaker 100 list – a list of the top global winemakers – but has also shared a great deal of his time in supporting the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association. Jo Throp has been with him at Te Awanga Estate every step of the way, both of them are huge supporters of F.A.W.C! with a keen desire to promote and support the local Hawke’s Bay community. They are greatly respected for their contribution to growing the region as a destination for food and wine lovers.

Alexandra Tylee,

Pipi Café & Food Truck
“If you are looking for a legend who personifies the best of the Hawke’s Bay foodie culture and uses her many strengths to support everyone in the community, you’ve got one in Alexandra.”

Native to Hawke’s Bay, it is fair to say that Alexandra is already a local icon. One of the first to present a casual take on locally sourced produce and products that supported her local community, Alex went on to become the author of three successful cookbooks, which have carried the Hawke’s Bay food story beyond local to reach audiences around the globe. With her partner Chris, she expanded the Pipi story to include the now famous Pipi food truck, which transports her glorious food narrative across the region. From the moment Alex painted the big café in Havelock North pink, she transformed the local culinary landscape and continues to do so.

Tim Turvey,

Clearview Estate Winery
“An absolute legend. Amazing ambassador for Hawke’s Bay and the best producer of chardonnay in New Zealand.”

In Hawke’s Bay, when the conversation turns to the subject of local food and wine, pioneering wine grower and maker Tim Turvey is inevitably mentioned as a man who not only makes outstanding wines but who also introduced locals and visitors alike to Mediterranean-style dining amid the vines. Tim was one of the first to understand the power and importance of building a sense of place and a connection through what we eat and drink. It is his endless drive and enthusiasm for the region that makes him an invaluable asset to the Hawke’s Bay food and wine story.