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Day in the Life – Cafes & Restaurants

There aren’t many situations where a chef might find themselves working in 6 completely different restaurants, all within a couple of kms of each other – let alone on the top of an operational ski area!

But that’s how our Food & Beverage team at Cardrona manage to feed thousands of visitors every day in our 6 distinctly different restaurants & cafés.

Our Cardrona chefs leave Wanaka between 6 & 7am every day to head up the mountain. The Base Café, Mezz Café, Little Meg, Juice & Java & Noodle Bar teams all serve breakfast items, so need to be up on the mountain bright & early – it’s all systems go from the moment they arrive!

The Captain’s Café team has a slightly different start to their day. Ever wondered how all that food gets across to Captain’s? The first thing they do is load a huge box with ingredients which is taken by a groomer across to Captain’s Basin. Then the Captain’s Café staff ski or snowboard to the bottom of Whitestar Express, ride the lift & head across to the basin to start their day.

Captain's Cafe staff ride to work! Photo: @violemizrahi


Because most of our guests spend just the day at Cardrona, the organized chaos really begins at 11am when lunch service begins. The teams spend 3 hours keeping up with orders at Mezz & Noodle Bar, restocking cabinets at Captain’s & Base, & refueling energy levels at Juice & Java & Little Meg. It’s fast-paced action, with lots of people trying to work quickly in a fairly small space.


But it’s not all hot stoves & chaos in our on-mountain restaurants. When things quieten down at 2pm each day, our F&B team often get the chance to sample the other goods on offer at Cardrona & go skiing or snowboarding! Then the afternoon is spent preparing for the next day, & the Mezz Café dinner service for our apartments guests.

Cardrona-Alpine-Resort-Cafes-&-Restaurants-Mezz-Wanaka New Zealand

The team up here at Cardrona reckon the biggest difference between working on a mountain rather than a restaurant in town, other than being able to ski & snowboard, is the logistical side of things. If we run out of something on the mountain, we can’t just run to the shops & get it – our F&B team has to think 3 days ahead to order ingredients, for them to arrive on the mountain, then get distributed out to all the outlets.

Cardrona’s menu is constantly changing & improving – we want our food & drink to surprise you with its flavour & quality. We use locally-sourced ingredients in 6 outlets with distinct food identities. The goal is to exceed expectations for what is possible on an alpine resort!

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