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New Zealand Meets Georgia

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Chef Andrew Litherland / Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation

It goes without saying that New Zealand is a long way from Greensboro, Georgia, especially since New Zealand is really a long way from most things, excepting Australia. But Chef Andrew Litherland, a New Zealand native (only recently named the executive chef of the The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation) is already starting to feel at home.

“There is so much opportunity for a chef here when it comes to ingredients, and I met with the master gardener last week to start planning the garden,” he explains. “We want to grow what is good to grow here and start helping to tell the story of this unique place.”

Reynolds Plantation is indeed unique. Set on the shores of Lake Oconee and the site of the upcoming Sixth Annual Lake Oconee Food & Wine Festival, it is surrounded by a wealth of local farmers and producers that Litherland can’t wait to get connected to.

Georgia goodness is nothing new for the chef. He most recently helmed the kitchen at The Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta, and he saw the city’s culinary stock rise during his tenure.

“Atlanta is a place where there is excitement for dining. Patrons seems more adventurous, the techniques and ingredients are adventurous, and it really is a melting pot of so many styles and cuisines,” he says.

His objective at The Ritz-Carlton had always been to focus on what is right for the hotel restaurants—in other words, if it is a steakhouse, have beautiful cuts of meat on the menu—and he is bringing that philosophy to Greensboro.

“I really like focusing on good protein, and I think that is so important now. Where is this coming from in the market? That’s been a big focus of mine for the last 5-6 years, and I look forward to getting plugged into some local sources for meat, poultry, and fish here.”

However, when it comes to comfort food (something Georgia is known for) he goes back to his roots and suggests lamb.

“New Zealand has four times more sheep than we do people,” he laughs.

However, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble drawing a crowd with this recipe. Make sure to check the chef’s note, then get to cooking some Kiwi comfort food, Georgia style.

Chef Andrew’s Lamb
from Chef Andrew Litherland of The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, GA