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Restaurant Month is coming to a close in Auckland – the first real taste test since the pandemic hit.

Extra large serving platters chef prepares food

Staff shortages, illness and the pandemic have created a lot of problems for restaurants in the last three years.
Photo: 123RF

Now in its 12th year, more than 100 eateries and outlets have curated special menus, drinks and events to celebrate the occasion.

Kitchens and dining rooms have been welcoming customers after dealing with a spate of Covid-19 and winter illnesses, as well as supply shortages.

In the kitchen of Cafe Hanoi, chef Nathan Houpapa’s plant-based menu has drawn in plenty of customers.

He said the road to restaurant month 2022 has been anything but smooth.

“It’s probably been the worst two years of my career,” he said.

Houpapa said that they have tried their best to keep staff numbers high and costs low.

The process had been stressful for his staff and if it wasn’t for the government’s hospitality subsidy, the business would not have survived.

All in all, he was glad to see people back enjoying the Auckland food scene.

Extra large serving platters chef nathan houpapa

Chef Nathan Houpapa is glad to have survived a difficult two years in business.
Photo: RNZ / Finn Blackwell

Across town, Le Chef’s Edouard Legoff shared the sentiments, saying it was exactly what the city needed.

He believed that the city has been struggling for some time, but it was getting better.

He said his $40 three-course meal has been a big drawcard for diners, and something he has fought to maintain despite increased costs.

“It’s definitely been a challenge, all my staff are at the moment doing 60 hours, so I’m pushing them pretty hard.”

Legoff said that for the last seven years, they’ve been open all week long, but with current pressures that simply wasn’t possible.

Extra large serving platters from left nicolas royer, alexis_jourdas and edouard legoff from le chef restaurant in auckland

From left Nicolas Royer, Alexis Jourdas and Edouard Legoff from Le Chef restaurant.
Photo: RNZ / Finn Blackwell

Heart of the City interim chief executive Steve Armitage hoped Aucklanders would feel encouraged to celebrate being out and about again.

Fred Wong from Poni, located in Commercial Bay, said he was glad to see issues easing across all sectors.

He said staff shortages and supply chain issues affected a variety of different sectors, and he was doing what he could to not compromise for his customers.

Diners are able to taste a variety of menus on offer till the end of this month.

Extra large serving platters chef fred wong

Fred Wong from Poni says problems are easing for Auckland businesses.
Photo: RNZ / Finn Blackwell

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