Darren and the kitchen team use the restaurant to surprise and delight with their cuisine art.
In only 22 months, the restaurant and Darren have been recognised for the following awards:
Cuisine Good Food Guide 2013 and 2014
Canterbury Hospitality Awards – Chevron Award for Chef of the Year 2014
Canterbury Hospitality Awards – Chevron Award for Professional of the Year 2014
Runner up in the Zest Food Awards 2013 (Top 10)
Runner up in the Zest Food Awards 2014 (Top 10)
Finalist in the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards 2014
Beef +Lamb NZ Excellence Award 2013 and 2014
Beef + Lamb NZ Peoples Choice Award 2013
Darren began his cooking career as a kitchen hand in Akaroa (as he didn’t want to go commercial fishing with his father!) progressing to junior chef and then moved away to Christchurch, where he attended Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.
After 2 ½ years working at the Crowne Plaza (formerly the Park Royal), Darren won the 1999 SPHC Junior Chef of the Nation. This win gave him a 6 week cooking experience in Penang, Malaysia, which served as a fabulous experience in Darren’s cooking career. It was upon his return to Christchurch in 2000 that the purchase of Harbour seventy one was made, in his home town of Akaroa! After nine very successful years, the restaurant was sold.
Darren was the Canterbury Representative for the 2006 Global Chef’s Challenge, which he won. He went to represent New Zealand at the Pacific Final in July 2007, where he was runner up.
In 2009, Darren was chosen as a NZ Beef and Lamb Ambassador.
For the second year in a row, he was again, in 2010, selected as a NZ Beef and Lamb Ambassador. He was also named an Ambassador in 2013 and 2014.
In July 2011, he headed up to Auckland with his sous chef to the NZ Culinary Fare. They won the title of NZ Kitchen Team of the Year! An accolade they were thrilled to win, considering they didn’t have a restaurant kitchen yet!
Darren and his wife Leanne embarked on another journey with the opening of “Chillingworth Road” on Cranford Street in Christchurch in November 2012.
In November 2014, he was awarded a Platinum Status for Beef + Lamb NZ. A status held by only 5 other NZ chefs.