Marlborough Vintners Hotel New Executive Chef

New Executive Chef at Heritage Collection Marlborough Vintners Hotel.

23 May 2017

Damian Oehlrich has joined Heritage Collection Marlborough Vintners Hotel as the new executive chef.

He started his career as a chef working at Lawson’s Dry Hills winery for chef Chris Gibb. Since then, he has worked for a variety of restaurants and lodges around New Zealand, England and Scotland, but says Marlborough will always be home.

“It’s a great place to live, we have everything for an outdoors lifestyle and to work with the best in the hospitality business at the historic Marlborough Vintners Hotel is an exciting prospect,” says Damian.

In 2003, he won an Interislander scholarship and cash award for excellence in cookery, as well as completing a Certificate in Cookery (Level 3) and passing with distinction at the London City and Guilds Cookery exams.

He’s also been in the spotlight as a semi-finalist on the 2016 Series 3: Marae Kai Masters, placing third out of 12 teams. He’s come a long way since he taught himself how to make his first chocolate éclair from scratch aged seven!

“Cooking has been my constant passion,” says Damian, “but, for five years, I took a break from the kitchen and worked in social services teaching cooking skills to people recovering from mental health disorders and later working for a year with 14-17 year olds who were at risk of heading down the wrong path. It was rewarding, and at the end my passion for cooking was even greater.”

Damian is excited about the new stage in his career at Heritage Collection Marlborough Vintners Hotel and is looking forward to all the region has to offer, including world-class produce and wine, as well as the great outdoors for fishing and leisure sports.

As a keen gardener at home, Damian is looking forward to utilising the hotel’s own vegetable garden, orchard and olive grove and indulging his passion for local produce.

“We saw what Damian could do when he did a temporary assignment for us in the past, so it’s great to have him back to our kitchen and I look forward to watching him build on our culinary,” says Travis Moriarty, general manager of Heritage Collection Marlborough Vintners Hotel.

Heritage Collection Marlborough Vintners Hotel, Blenheim is set on Rapaura Road and is surrounded by Marlborough’s internationally acclaimed vineyards.  

The hotel consists of a main lodge which houses the Vintners Room Restaurant overlooking a tranquil rose garden, open daily, and the Barrel Hall function venue.

Designed by respected architect Anton Tritt, the six acre property is sited to fully embrace the stunning Marlborough vineyard setting.

The hotel is perfect for a weekend retreat to sample the gastronomic pleasures of this abundant region and can cater for banquets, conferences and weddings for up to 120 people.

The property has spacious self-contained one bedroom suites dotted about pleasant grounds overlooking the vines, complete with en-suite bathroom with under floor heating, a lovely lounge to laze about in, and a patio to catch the winter sun and views sipping some excellent local wine.