Tony Stewart’s early career in the ski industry is a far cry from his present role as acclaimed restaurateur and business owner. Luckily for foodies far and wide he decided to make the move into hospitality business in 1998. Since then he has gone on to own and run a string of successful bars, such as Hush and Match Lounge Bar, a restaurant in Invercargill, all before founding the award-winning restaurant, Clooney, in 2006.
Over the past six years Tony’s hard work alongside Executive Chef Des Harris, has resulted in a raft of industry accolades, winning awards from Cuisine, Metro and the LewishamFoundation. Most recently, Clooney has been recognised as Auckland’s best fine diningrestaurant for 2012 by Metro Magazine.
Celebrating six years of success with Clooney Tony looks to the next six years, “My goalis to be an institution within the Auckland dining scene. We understand this to be a serious commitment but through consistency in our offering while carefully pushing the boundaries ofour customers we feel it is achievable”
What drew you to become a restauranteur?
I always had an affiliation and an appreciation to food from a young age through my father running a produce market and my grand parents having a large backyard garden. From there an opportunity arose and here we are.
Six years is a long time in the world of hospitality, what is the secret to Clooney’s ongoing success?
Surrounding myself with great people and not cutting corners.
How would you say Clooney has evolved since it was established six years ago?
Definitely through our food style and getting the small things right.
What is your favorite dish on the menu?
At present it is the Duck. It is eats incredibly well; it is texturally great and is ideal in these winter months.
What dish would you recommend ordering to impress someone on a date?
Do the research on the ingredients listed within each dish, show knowledge in these while discussing the menu with her or him as you help with their choice. Be confident that from there everything will taste great.
What do you cook when at home?
Simple food with an emphasis of freshness.
What do you see for the next six years at Clooney?
More polish while only getting better.
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