After nearly two years of trading, Auckland restaurant Alta – founded and run by chef Georgia Van Prehn on Karangahape Road – has announced it will be closing its doors.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we announce the very last service at Alta will be the 17th of June,” Van Prehn wrote in a post on the restaurant’s Instagram account today. “It’s been a challenging couple of years with many highs and lows, but to make our last two weeks one to remember we’re putting on all of our best hits on the menu and the wine list too.”

Speaking to Broadsheet, Van Prehn said she was feeling emotional after making the announcement but, ultimately, that she was keen for Alta’s last days to be a celebration of what the restaurant brought to Auckland’s dining scene.

“I just want to celebrate the last two weeks. We do have a lot of regular customers that come in all the time and people that have liked it, and I just kind of want to have fun with the staff and not be too mopey about it,” she says.

Over the last couple of years, Van Prehn has built a reputation for her creativity with food, prompting diners to look at ingredients in a different way through her experimental treatments and low-waste approach.

“I guess it’s kind of like art for me, in a way,” she says. “Obviously, it’s got to be edible, but I’ve always tried to think outside of the box and always tried to do something different – to learn more myself, as well, learn new techniques.”

Van Prehn says she’s put her all into cooking for years now, spending hours outside her working week planning, testing and refining. Her plan after Alta closes is to invest her time in other creative pursuits for a while, like horticulture and pottery. “I have no doubt I’ll come back to cooking at some point,” she says. “But I think to reenergise myself ... I’m kind of excited to just go into the wind and see what happens.”

Alta’s last day of service will be Saturday June 17.