With its old life left behind, in true new-broom fashion, cafe-restaurant The Dune opened in fine weather attracting a raft of customers to try new dishes and assess it prior to their summer dining selections.
The Dune is the third in a trio of restaurants opened by partners Lloyd Rooney and Mike Fraser in a little over a whirlwind two years.
Starting with the Waipu Cove Cafe, chef Craig Estick joined the team. Though he had worked at some high powered Auckland establishments, plus two years in the UK, he always had a penchant for a quieter coastal lifestyle so following a stint at Oceans at Tutukaka the family moved to Waipu.
With the opening of The Dune Craig now becomes executive chef and thus overseer-cum-troubleshooter of the three head chefs, menus and much of the day-to-day operations but is still very much hands-on in the kitchen.
“The three places are quite different in regard to the different areas and clientele they serve but I believe they are good for Northland,” he says “but the object is still to please the customer with both quality and price of food, and the service.”
In differing slightly from the other menus, The Dune serves an array of light cafe-style meals like thin crust wood-fired pizzas, platters and banquets which serve families or company dinners as well as sharing meals. A la carte, though is still available for evening meals.
From a staffing point Craig says the operation as a whole is extremely valuable in cultivating young graduates from NorthTec or other culinary schools. With high season staff overall numbering in excess of a hundred this provides a good training ground for youngsters and a career path for any who may be considering their future lies within the hospitality industry which offers a number of specialised areas. Staff are moved around each establishment from time to time giving a change of scenery and variety.
“We are proud of what we have here and give one hundred percent commitment to the job, the product and the public,” says Craig.
OPEN: Newly refurbished, The Dune is ideal for outdoor summer dining.
TRIO: Craig Estick is executive chef of three eateries in Mangawhai, Waipu and Whangarei.