A batch of recipes well blended

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Russell Gray (left) and Al Spary with their new Botswana Butchery cookbook

One of Queenstown’s most successful restaurants has spawned a cookbook.

A sumptuously-illustrated hardback, Botswana Butchery: The Cookbook, presents 80 recipes used in Queenstown’s Botswana Butchery and its sister Auckland restaurant.

These include not just their trademark meat cuts but also soups, salads, pasta, seafood, desserts and chutneys.

The black cover, featuring the restaurants’ logo, an embossed ‘b’-shaped butcher’s cleaver, attributes Al Spary and Russell Gray – chairman and CEO, respectively, of ownership company Good Group Hospitality – as the book’s authors.

Spary’s written the introduction, but he and Gray also pay credit to their staff, in particular group executive chef Stuart Rogan and former Queenstown executive chef Chris Bindon, for bringing the recipes to life.

Gray says he and Spary toyed with publishing a book two years ago “because it’s been such a successful restaurant and successful brand, as a consequence”.

However they were put off by the cost – “that’s the thick end of a six-figure exercise and you’ve got to sell a lot of books”.

the blue, New Holland Publishers approached them.

“They just said, ‘we think you’ve got a great story to tell, you’ve got a great brand that’s stood the test of time, you’ve got some colourful characters involved in it, and you’ve got consistently amazing food and two of the best locations in New Zealand’.”

Gray says they deliberated over whether they should share their intellectual property – namely, their recipes.

“We decided to because clearly the recipes change when you reduce the quantities to be able to make them at home.”

Spary adds: “While it gives everyone the opportunity to trial these dishes, they will probably find them slightly different and slightly better when they come to the restaurant and have the professionals do it for them.”

The book – retailing for $50 – is available at major bookstores throughout NZ and on onlines sites like Amazon, as well as their restaurants.

Gray: “There’s not really a day goes by, particularly in Queenstown with the number of tourists we have, that they don’t ask, ‘is there something we can buy to take back with us because we’ve had this amazing experience’.”

He also believes the book will make an ideal Christmas gift.

On top of their new book, the pair are also celebrating a slew of awards this year.

Botswana Butchery Auckland was named ‘best metropolitan restaurant’ at the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards, Queenstown’s wana was awarded a hat in Cuisine NZ’s Good Food Awards and the company’s Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill in Auckland was this month named ‘best restaurant’ in Hospitality NZ’s Awards for Excellence.

Spary and Gray say it’s unlikely they’ll open another Botswana in NZ, at least, but after the success of their new White + Wong’s restaurant in Auckland will probably open one in Queenstown next winter.

scoop@scene.co.nz