Veteran chef and restaurateur Tony Astle, affectionately known as the ‘Godfather’ of New Zealand’s fine dining scene, has received one of AUT’s highest honours, a Seddon Honorary Fellowship.
A Seddon Honorary Fellowship is a prestigious award which recognises individuals of distinction who are innovative leaders with strong connections to AUT and who have made a significant contribution to the University and to the wider community.
On behalf of AUT Council, Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack hosted a celebration at the Four Seasons Restaurant last week to formally acknowledge Tony Astle, who owned the renowned Antoine’s restaurant in Parnell.
“Tony is one of New Zealand’s most successful chefs and restaurateurs. His commitment to hospitality excellence over four decades has provided a benchmark that others have keenly followed. He has also educated, mentored and provided employment to many chefs starting out in the industry, including AUT alumni. A Seddon Honorary Fellowship reflects and recognises the significant contribution that Tony has made to the hospitality industry,” said Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack.
Tony Astle has contributed to all of AUT’s culinary programmes since the early 1980s providing demonstrations to students, participating in students’ final practical examinations, and supporting the School of Hospitality and Tourism as the premier provider of chef and culinary training in Aotearoa New Zealand. He has also mentored many of today’s culinary superstars, including AUT alumni Simon Gault and Michael Meredith.
Tony Astle began his career in 1965 as a chef’s apprentice to Madam Louise and Des Britten at Le Normandie in Wellington. He went on to open his own restaurant, Antoine’s in Auckland in 1973. The award-winning 47-year-old restaurant stood out in an industry with an average restaurant lifespan of 18 months.
He was inducted into the Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame in 1997 and was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services as a chef in 2013.