Many years ago I had my first experience dining at a little restaurant in New Zealand called Pacifica. Located in Hawke's Bay, in a weathered blue beach bungalow, only one block from the Pacific Ocean, gives the seafood (kaimoana) degustation menu a sense of reality so much so that I could in fact taste the sea just as I could smell it.
The chef and owner, Jeremy Rameka, creates a new menu every day, based on seasonal variety and what the occasional family member or mate turns up with at the restaurant doorstep. Jeremy has a passion for his food and for the people who come every night to see what’s on offer. He isn't scared of a random ingredient that the normal person would walk past at the market. Once Jeremy served me a whole kina (sea urchin) still in it’s shell with the salty flesh mixed with tapioca - something I would never choose myself. It became a favorite and the experience opened my eyes to a new food adventure - of trying the unknown.
Jeremy and Pacifica have recently been recognized for their years of hard work by taking out the Cuisine Magazine Best Restaurant Award.