Katrina and Ranga Wijesinghe owners of Arabica Café are absolutely delighted to have been voted the ‘People’s Choice’ winners for the best café in the Christchurch area, which covers Rangiora to Timaru.
“We didn’t realise how many followers we had,” they said, “we were up against some big players in the city. We are very grateful to all our customers who make the effort to come and see us. It is gratifying to be recognised for all our hard work, it’s a dream come true.”
Ranga is the Arabica chef, he said, “I have always been in hospitality ever since leaving school. I have been really lucky where I have worked in Sri Lanka and South East Asia, I have received great training and experience. Arabica has enabled me to express myself through my dishes and I have the freedom to do that with the fabulous team around me. They help keep our standards high, always going the extra mile for our customers. Lee, Brittney, Lachlan and Liam care about Arabica and its clientele as much as Kat and I do, it’s a fun place to be, so for all of us it is not like work to be here.”
Ranga loves the fantastic products we have here in New Zealand, saying, “I can be creative, experimenting with cuts of meat and fruits and vegetables I have not encountered before. However, everyone’s input is valued about taste, ideas and presentation. Every dish needs a unanimous thumbs up before it goes on the menu. We especially appreciate
and take on board the comments from our customers. We learn so much from them.”
Kat said, “This vote of confidence is amazing, our certificate will go up on the wall with last year’s one. Other than bragging rights and vying for the Supreme Award prize of being sent to Melbourne for a holiday – the main reward from this competition for us is the recognition for our team’s hard work and dedication to providing a great experience for our
Kat has worked in the service industry for years although not in hospitality, and she understands how important customer service is. A warm welcome and service with a smile might be old fashioned but they do go a long way – our team are excellent at remembering the little things, paying attention to detail, the likes and dislikes of our regulars, and its really appreciated.”
The certificates for the Puhoi Valley People’s Choice regional winners will be sent out soon and these cafés will feature on the competition website.
In just over a week the Meadow Fresh NZ Café of the Year regional winners for each competition category will be announced. This list of regional category winners will go through to judging round three, where the judges will visit each of the regional category winners again to find the 2017 champion and national category winners.
A celebration and awards evening will be held in Auckland in February 2017, where the overall ‘Supreme’ winner will be announced.
Good Luck Kat and Ranga and the Arabica Team!!