New documentary series to put Federal Street restauranteurs "Under the Grill"

Filming is underway for a new TV3 documentary series that takes viewers behind the scenes of one of the biggest hospitality precincts being developed in Auckland ahead of Rugby World Cup 2011.

Produced by Jill Graham of Razor Films (Inside NZ: 24 Hours – Police), the series follows award-winning chef and restaurateur Sean Connolly and a team that includes architects and builders, chefs and suppliers, as they work to have new signature restaurant The Grill open for business in SKYCITY’s Federal Street area in late August.

The revealing series documents the skill, creativity, business nous, and passion essential to the creation of a top restaurant, all taking place in the pressure cooker of a deadline that is less than 100 days away.

3’s Head of Factual, Sue Woodfield, says the series takes food television to a new level.

“This is a real life kitchen nightmare – racing the clock to create a world-class restaurant from scratch in just 100 days.

“In the hands of expert documentary maker Jill Graham, the story behind Sean Connolly’s very own ‘grand design’ is set to be deliciously entertaining television.

“Strap yourself in for a rollercoaster ride!”

Kiwi restaurateurs Luke Dallow (Chapel Bar and Bistro) and Al Brown (Logan Brown) will make regular cameo appearances in the series.  Each is opening a neighbouring restaurant as part of SKYCITY’s Federal Street revamp.

SKYCITY Chief Executive, Nigel Morrison says:

“The launch of The Grill is part of a multi-million dollar investment in Federal Street to position it as one of Auckland’s top restaurant and bar destinations. Adjacent to SKYCITY’s Auckland Casino, Federal St will provide a range of world class restaurants, bars and hotel facilities complementing our existing and new international gaming spaces for our local and international guests.

“We’re delighted to be working with TV3 to give viewers the chance to get to know Sean, see what Luke and Al are up too and also enjoy a preview into some of the other projects we have unfolding across the site in time for Rugby World Cup.”

Under The Grill will screen on TV3 as part of the 2011 Winter Season.

About The Grill by Sean Connolly
Sean Connolly says: “I am very excited to be here in Auckland, where I have been given a phenomenal opportunity to open a top restaurant and can cook with some fantastic, local New Zealand produce.”

Sean describes ‘The Grill’ as a dining style that will be simple and uncomplicated, and feature pasture fed meat and sustainable seafood from New Zealand’s very best producers – a perfect match to what will host one of the city’s leading wine lists. Boasting wooden tables, leather seating and a luxuriously dark, rich and edgy ambience – the space will complement The Grand Hotel entrance and adjacent The Lobby . With an emphasis on excellent produce and an efficient and friendly service style, The Grill by Sean Connolly will be the ideal location for a relaxed dining experience.

About Sean Connolly
Sean Connolly’s passion for cooking was evident the day he enrolled in his Yorkshire school’s home economics class. Connolly started his chef’s apprenticeship at the tender age of thirteen at the Pennine Hilton, Ainley Top near Leeds, working after school for free to gain valuable experience in the testosterone fuelled world of a commercial kitchen. Connolly found his calling during his tenure at the Princess Grill, a restaurant aboard the world’s most luxurious cruise ship, the QE2. Arriving in Australia Connolly’s talent quickly led to his appointment at Star City’s Astral in 1995. Connolly opened the doors to his second restaurant at Star City, Sean’s Kitchen, in September 2008. Connolly’s media career continues to move from strength to strength. In 2009, he hosted the multi award winning 13-part series of SBS’s ‘My Family Feast’, a celebration of multicultural Australian food, family and the stories of life. A cookbook was also released to coincide with the launch of the series.

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Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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