Hilton Queenstown's Peter Thornley
Hilton Queenstown's Peter Thornley

Hilton has announced the line-up of chefs for its new Kawarau Village development, comprised of the five star 178-room Hilton Queenstown and the four star 98-room Kawarau Hotel, managed by Hilton, set in a fully fledged retail and dining village.

One of New Zealand’s most acclaimed chefs, Peter Thornley, will head up Hilton Queenstown’s signature restaurant Wakatipu Grill. He has skippered landmark restaurants across New Zealand for more than a decade. His CV includes the beloved Icon Restaurant at Te Papa Museum in Wellington, Bracu – on an olive estate outside Auckland, Thornley’s in Christchurch, The French Farm near Akaroa and, since 2008, Kermadec.

The recipient of many national and international awards, Thornley is also a familiar magazine, TV and radio personality in New Zealand.

“We are thrilled Peter is bringing his reputation for imaginative and innovative New Zealand cuisine to the Hilton Queenstown.  The food he and our team of chefs are planning, paired with Wakatipu Grill’s exhilarating design and setting, will truly elevate the gourmet dining scene in Queenstown to another level,” said Marlene Poynder, General Manager Hilton Queenstown, Kawarau Hotel, managed by Hilton, and Kawarau Village.

Wakatipu Grill is situated lakefront with vast windows framing captivating views of Lake Wakatipu and Coronet Peak.  An open kitchen and rotisserie, along with two circular slate fireplaces, central chef’s table, striking black chandeliers, leather banquets and an outdoor fire pit and terrace seating, lend even more drama to an arresting dining environment.

Thornley will be joined at Wakatipu Grill by Brian Campbell, his long time pastry chef from Bracu and Kermadec. Originally from Scotland, Brian has pedigree gained from some of the UK’s finest Relais & Chateaux properties and Michelin starred restaurants in Spain.

Campbell’s awe inspiring sweet creations will be available throughout the Kawarau Village, in the food and beverage outlets of both hotels and at The Lake Counter specialty grocer, cafe and deli.

Thornley and Campbell will work in tandem with executive chef for Hilton Queenstown and Kawarau Hotel, managed by Hilton, Fréderic Monnier. French born Monnier worked at Michelin starred restaurants in France, the UK and the Swiss alpine village of Crans-Montana, before leaving Europe a decade ago.

He worked at Hilton Sydney from 2000 and Hilton Melbourne from 2003, and then worked as Regional Executive Chef for Millennium and Copthorne Hotels, based in Queenstown. During his Queenstown tenure, Monnier has garnered a reputation for capturing the essence of seasonal local produce and flavours.  Expect to enjoy Southland beef, alpine salmon, Cardrona lamb and Bluff oysters, summer stone fruits and winter apples and quinces, complemented by an extensive wine list showcasing the Central Otago region’s sensational wines. Stacks Pub will specialise in pizzas and burgers while Me & Mee Noodle Bar will serve up the latest Asian flavours.

“We are excited to offer both hotel guests and all guests of Kawarau Village a world class team of creative, motivated and adventurous chefs who will deliver outstanding dining experiences,” Poynder said.