Damon McGinniss


Damon’s professional background includes establishing and running his own restaurant, a three-year stint as Executive Chef at a resort and work as a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Food Ambassador, particularly in Seoul, Korea.

Food has always been Damon’s passion, and this drive led him, at the tender age of 26, to set up Bistro 1284 in Rotorua along with his wife Megan. Within four months of opening, it was judged Rotorua’s best restaurant. This continued each and every year for the next seven years. While running Bistro 1284, Damon was also a New Zealand Lamb & Beef Ambassador in 2005 and 2007, won seven Lamb & Beef Hallmark of Excellence awards, was winner at Montana’s “Wine & Food Challenge” and served as president of the Rotorua Restaurant Association.

After selling Bistro 1284 in 2008, Damon went on to take over as Executive Chef at Edgewater Resort in Wanaka where he worked as a mentor to younger chefs while developing the weddings and conferences side of the resort, creating and teaching in a regular cooking class, as well as running a kitchen team for the busy a la carte café/ restaurant and breakfast restaurant.

Damon arrived in Hawke’s Bay in 2012 and has been caring for his young children while undertaking tutoring work at the Eastern Institute of Technology.



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