Santiago Fernandez 2018 Winner

Santiago Fernandez is playful and whimsical with his cookery. He is also deadly serious about his own expectations and about delighting his guests. We know all this because we’ve eaten his food.

By the by, he is also much loved by his staff. “So what?” you might think, but when staff can’t stop telling you how wonderful he is, there’s something very positive going on on the other side of the pass, which, we think, is expressed in his confident, imaginative and pulchritudinous degustation menus.

Degustation menus may have had their day, but at Voyager Estate it makes complete sense. The food is woven into the fabric of the estate’s wine story, which means the menu and the progression of dishes have to tell a convincing tale with matching wines and precision cooking. And indeed, Voyager Estate’s dining is very narrative – there’s a point to why certain dishes are presented and when.

It’s clever without being smart-Alec or ruined by faddish flourishes and redundant techniques. And there’s just the merest hint of the romance of Fernandez’s native South America, alive and well on his artistic plates and in his breath-taking food.

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The food is woven into the fabric of the estate’s wine story, which means the menu and the progression of dishes have to tell a convincing tale with matching wines and precision cooking. And indeed, Voyager Estate’s dining is very narrative – there’s a point to why certain dishes are presented and when."