Mark Southon

After training at many Michelin star restaurants in Europe, Mark embarked on his culinary tour down under. He landed a prestigious position at Vue de Monde - Australia's top restaurant at the time.

He then fell in love with our shores and has continued his illustrious career here in NZ.

After working and playing hard in Queenstown at Wai waterfront restaurant he moved to Auckland to work at the well renowned "The French Café "with Simon Wright. Head chef at the Foodstore restaurant followed, then he took the helm at the iconic O' Connell street bistro for a number of years. Now leading the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel restaurant, he and his team produce amazing dishes with only the finest New Zealand produce on offer.

Mark is a familiar face on our TV screens - already a star of numerous TV shows including; Best of NZ Food, "Monteith's Wild Food Challenge", Foodstore gone wild, the resident chef of "The Cafe" on tv3 in the mornings, & most resently Snack Masters NZ.

W: Chef Mark Southon

I: mark_southon_chef

F: Chef - Mark Southon

Carl Grainger

Carl, head judge for many comps here and in Australia, he’s come along-way since that first 6 ring gas burner.

Sparked by the milestone of his son’s
first birthday, Carl really got into charcoal and wood fired cooking to impress guests at the party with a perfectly cooked whole pig spit roast. 

It wasn’t long before he progressed to entering competitions and in 2018 taking out Reserve Grand Champion (2nd Overall).

This was quickly followed by hooking up with Australasian BBQ Alliance team to move into judging. Now an Australasian BBQ Alliance Head Judge as well as being a rep for the SCA (Steak Cookoff Association) - another BBQ Sanctioning body out of the US.

All that and he still loves to keep his tongs on the BBQ, and cook a few briskets and pork butts!


I: @theslowjoint

F: @CarlGrainger


If you follow the BBQ comp circuit you’ll be familiar with Wayne’s work. Representing NZ for his BBQ prowess - American Royal and the Jack Daniels invitational - two of the biggest barbecue competitions on the planet! In 2019 he was crowned New Zealand’s BBQ Alliance Grand Champion and National Champion! Let’s just say he knows his stuff!

Aside from competitive BBQ'ing Wayne runs a BBQ accessory business and is always coming up with the best tools to add to your BBQ! Check his products out here.

Charmate has been a firm fixture in Kiwi backyards for over 20 years. Traditional Charcoal Barbecues and Smokers setting the standard for all things low and slow or hot and fast!


I: @teambbqwarnz


Robert Berkowski 'Berkie'

Recent NZ BBQ Champion and Head Honcho & Masterclass Guru at Berkies BBQ. 

Robert hails from Toronto, Canada and enjoys BBQ-ing so much that he has been known to BBQ in -25C temps during a fierce Canadian ice storm. No wonder he moved to NZ!

Having travelled extensively learning different methods and approaches and sampling some of the world’s finest BBQ cuisine he’s well equipped to get us started with a whopping 4 separate dishes.

Berkie’s BBQ offers a range of public and private masterclasses, workshops and catering services. 

Find out more!


F: @Berkiesbbq

I: @berkiesbbq

Jamie Robert Johnston

Jamie Robert Johnston, Executive Chef at Everybody Eats - a multi-award winning charitable dining
concept. Where food that would otherwise go to waste is taken and turned into restaurant quality meals. Customers can pay whatever they like, even if it's nothing, for nutritious and freshly prepared food.


Jamie describes himself as a Romani - Jewish - British Chef and a cheeky optimist!  He has traveled the world and been involved in the inception of many restaurants that’s seen him cook alongside Aotearoa's finest chefs. He has cooked in a range of settings from Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle to local food trucks and everything in between.


I: @saucebossnz

F: @JamieRobertJohnston

Stacey Harte

Stacey - self-proclaimed BBQ fanatic - is taking time out from his day job as a firefighter and builder to share his hottest BBQ-ing tips with us! In his words – you gotta eat every day, so might as well make it the best part of the day!

It’s a passion that’s quickly becoming so much more – he’s traveled overseas to work alongside some BBQ legends and learnt heaps along the way. His BBQ-ing style is influenced largely by Japanese food-hibachi & yakitori, asado, Argentinean BBQ, whole hog cooking.

I: @mjs_smokinbbq

F: @MJSSmokinBbq

Matt Melville

We are in for an awesome time with Matt Melville from Rum & Que who produce competition-quality Rubs and Sauces with his wife Tracey. In 2021 they were crowned New Zealand National BBQ Champions.


Six short years ago, Matt began his journey into low and slow competitive BBQ.  Matt and Tracey, Rum & Que co-founders kicked things off by creating a range of rubs and sauces to take to BBQ comps.

Today they have competed in over 70 competitions across 3 countries. Needless to say they are New Zealand’s reigning champion of the NZ BBQ Alliance. 



I: @rumandque

F: @RumandQue

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