There are 5 key people who make up the backbone of our crew. They have all worked together over the last few years in one or more of Mark and Helen Limacher’s restaurants.
There’s Mark and Helen Limacher of course, and though you don’t see much of Helen, she works hard in the background keeping things ticking like clockwork on the admin management side.
Keeping it in the family, their daughter Anna and husband Davey McDonald, in charge and fully committed to Ortega’s front of house efforts and everything liquid.
And finally the fifth and newest member of our key team at Ortega, Regnar Christensen, Head Chef.
Read more about each of them below.
Mark has been cooking since leaving school and has had an exciting career in the kitchens of top restaurants for over 35 years, working in some of the most prestigious in France, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.
Mark opened the Roxburgh Bistro in 1992 followed by Café Bastille in 2001. Both restaurants enjoyed rave reviews and won numerous national awards for his outstanding food and wine lists.
Ortega Fish Shack & Bar is Mark’s 3rd restaurant. Mark has a love of food that goes beyond being a career. There won't be many a book he hasn't read or Chef he hasn't heard of in his hunger for more knowledge and understanding of the possibilities that food offers.
Mark is dedicated to the culture, cuisine, passion and fashion of food.
Davey McDonald has been actively and passionately involved in Wellington’s hospitality scene since 2001, when he was Maitre d’ at The Roxburgh Bistro, then going on to be manager of Cafe Bastille.
In 2004, Davey furthered his epicurean tour of duty in Australia, working alongside famous kiwi Restaurateur Mark Dickey in his Sydney restaurant, Garfish.
Back in New Zealand, Davey honed his wine skills, achieving distinction in the International Wine and Spirit Education exams, and managing the independent, cult Wellington wine retailer, Wineseeker - as well as getting involved in the 2008 vintage of boutique Martinborough wine producer, Murdoch James Estate.
Davey is now co-owner, Maitre d’, manager, and all-round-good-guy of Ortega Fish Shack & Bar - for your food and wine matching experience– Davey is your man!
Regnar’s road to Ortega may be more recent, but is no less impressive.
After being awarded Chef "apprentice of the year", he embarked on a journey of discovery as part of his prize package, undertaking work experience in some of Londons top Restaurants; St Johns with Fergus Henderson & Head Chef Lee Tiernan, Peter Gordon's Provedore, Michel Roux’s Le Gavroche and Marcus Wareing at the Berkley.
Regnar returned to Wellington and joined us as Sous Chef in early 2011 quickly proving his ambition with food to be true and full of integrity.
Regnar took over as Head Chef in early 2013 and made his mark early with the introduction of successful new dishes and a dedication to consistent quality on every plate that leaves his kitchen.
Helen Limacher has been at Mark’s side for over 25 years. Childhood sweetheart, nurse, business partner, mother of their 4 daughters, restaurant manager, best friend, netball coach, and the glue that holds everything, and everyone together.
Sharing a love of great food and wine (this picture was taken at the 3 star Akelaré in San Sebastian), Helen has been keeping the business end of the restaurants going behind the scenes while also looking after the everyday needs of family life. “Hospitality is a great life, full of rich experiences and lots of great people, and of course exceptionally good food!”
Anna Limacher has restaurants in her blood and has been hanging around her parents restaurants since she was a toddler. She started working part time at their newly opened Café Bastille when she was 14, working there for 4 years during its award winning phase, and honing her front of house skills to be amongst the best in the business.
Anna takes pride in her customers’ enjoyment of the whole evening and you’ll be hard pushed to find a more relaxed yet professional atmosphere in town.
Anna has worked in the hospitality industry since leaving school, both in Wellington, as well as taking a year working at Garfish in Sydney. Anna is a proud co-owner of Ortega and is relishing the opportunity to make her mark on the Wellington restaurant scene.