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Spicy sausage takes win

CAPTION: Rachel Priestley snapped up the Life and Leisure Outstanding Producer Paddock Crafted award for her Spicy Sicilian Sausages last week PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

For a Greytown Italian food connoisseur, winning a national food award is another feather in her chef’s hat.

Rachel Priestley, the owner of La Pancetta at Wakelin House in Greytown won the inaugural Life and Leisure Outstanding Producer Paddock Crafted award for her special Spicy Sicilian Sausages.

The owner of the artisan charcuterie brand, The Prodigal Daughter, also had three of her cured meat products as finalists for the award.

“I am delighted to bring an award to the Wairarapa from something I produced in Greytown using local Longbush Free Range pork and local wine,” she said.

“Wairarapa is such a food bowl it is great to see that getting national recognition.”

After 25 years in the business, Miss Priestley has new developments on the horizon.

She is in phase one of developing value added products using Gladstone’s Longbush Pork and other accredited New Zealand pork.

New products such as firecracker bacon, treacle bacon and red wine and pork pies, will compliment her cured meats line, The Prodigal Daughter.

“Value added product line means you can enjoy restaurant quality product at home with little preparation,” she said.

“I love it, I love cooking and I love creating.”

A long term plan is to open her own butchery in Greytown as a product facility.

Training as a chef in Wellington in her 20s, Miss Priestley has since gained extensive experience starting and running restaurants in New Zealand, Australia and Europe.

She has taught at Wellington Polytech and studied marketing at Victoria University.

Miss Priestley, originally from Wellington, said she had always had a love for Italian cuisine and always had a passion to live and work in Italy.

“Someone called me up one day when I was living in Melbourne and said would you like to come and live in Italy and open a wine bar.

“I said yes — what a question.”

She lived in Italy for 10 years, then in France for a couple of years where she was chef to the New Zealand Ambassador in France.

Miss Priestley has been buying Longbush Pork for about six years, and said “they make the best pork in NZ”.

“They are doing the best that they can to make the best pork in New Zealand and I want to carry that on.”

She hopes to sell these products at Moore Wilson’s across the region and in more retail stores and selling online.

The Clareville Bakery crackers and sourdough were also finalist products, with the crackers served at the awards evening in Auckland last Thursday.

Outstanding NZ Food Producer award winners

Absolute NZ Meat, Absolute Angus, Porterhouse – Supreme winner NZ Food producer

Jersey Girl Organics, Jersey Girl Organic Whole Milk – Outstanding Producer Dairy Primary

Whitestone Cheese Company, Vintage Windsor Blue – Outstanding Producer Dairy Crafted

Farm Eighty4, Heirloom Tomatoes?- Fresh.co.nz Outstanding Producer Earth Primary

Fix and Fogg, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter – Fresh.co.nz Outstanding Producer Earth Crafted

Absolute NZ Meat, Absolute Angus – Outstanding Producer Paddock Primary

The Prodigal Daughter, Spicy Sicilian Sausages – Outstanding Producer Paddock Crafted

Cloudy Bay Clams, Wild Harvested New Zealand Diamond Shell Surf Clams- Label & Litho Outstanding Producer Water Primary

Keewai New Zealand, Live Freshwater Crayfish – Spirit of New Zealand

People’s Choice award winners

Hawke’s Bay, T & G Global People’s Choice Outstanding Food Region

Fix and Fogg Peanut Butter Makers, L’affare People’s Choice Outstanding Producer

Otago Farmers Market, Outstanding People’s Choice Farmers’ Market

Feilding Farmers Market, Runner up Outstanding People’s Choice Farmers’ Market

Farro Fresh Food, Outstanding People’s Choice Specialty Food Store or Supermarket

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