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Our Story.

Owners Josh & Helen Emetts' association with The Oyster Inn goes back to the very beginning, in 2012, when they attended the grand opening. Over the years the Emetts became Oyster Inn regulars, often visiting with their sons Finn and Louis, and grew to love the place that has become a Waiheke institution. 

Celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones, the Inn has always held a special place in their hearts. In 2020 they cemented their love of the Inn by becoming the new innkeepers, taking the restaurant and hotel on an exciting new chapter. 


Josh has been a chef for 30 years and his pedigree comes with impeccable credentials, having worked in London, New York, Los Angeles and Melbourne for Gordon Ramsay. In New Zealand he became a well-known face on television as a MasterChef New Zealand judge. 

Helen has loved cooking from an early age and undertook an evening course at the French Culinary Institute when she lived in New York while working for Merrill Lynch. For Helen finally owning a restaurant is something she once thought would only be a dream.

Waiheke is a paradise of secluded, white sand beaches, world-class vineyards all just a short 35-minute ferry from Auckland. A world apart, not a world away. 

There's so much to do. From ziplining to kayaking, scuba diving to paddle boarding, there's something for everyone. For those who love walking Waiheke is your paradise with over 100 kilometres of connected trails to keep you on your feet. 

If you fancy just kicking back and relaxing that's fine too. Beautiful Oneroa beach is just a short stroll away and is perfect for a pre-dinner dip in the summer. 

Introducing our Head Chef Valentina 

Born and raised in a small village on Lake Maggiore, Northern Italy, Vale started her cooking passion and career in 2009 when she graduated from Professional Institute for Hospitality and Enogastronomy in Stresa. Working the summer seasons in Northern Italy, she finally moved to London to learn the ropes at The Ivy in Covent Garden.

In 2016, she met her now partner Luca at L’anamia Restaurant, a fine dining award-winning Italian restaurant by Francesco Mazzei. In 2017, Vale and Luca moved to Australia for a new adventure.  

They started working for Aqua Dining, the flagship restaurant of the Sydney Restaurant Group by Bill Drakopoulus, with renowned Head Chef and restaurateur Davide Rebeccato. In 2020, Vale and Luca moved to Waiheke Island where they landed upon Poderi Crisci. After a short stint there, Vale finally landed upon The Oyster Inn. After two years working under the wing of head chef Jamie Hogg Wharekawa, Vale has now taken over the ropes of Head Chef with her partner Luca by her side as Sous Chef. 

The Oyster Inn was founded in 2012 by Jonathan Rutherfurd Best and Andrew Glenn, close friends of Josh & Helen. 

Since opening The Inn has earned critical acclaim both in New Zealand and abroad, featured in numerous publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Travel & Leisure, Monocle and Harper’s Bazaar. 

Winner of numerous culinary awards including Metro Magazine's Best Destination Award, The Oyster Inn continues to be a favourite of locals and island visitors alike.

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