After a career spanning 25 years cooking in the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand, I wanted to create a food ‘bible’ to celebrate some of the world’s great classic dishes; to share what I have learned working with incredible chefs, creating truly outstanding recipes.
I’m a big believer in lunch. It is the reward for work well done in the morning and should set you up for the afternoon. Which is why at least once a week I step inside the dining room of Monsoon Poon.
With these cakes and desserts I wanted to give you a twist on classic Kiwi pastries, but also go a bit deeper and explore the concept of New Zealand, the land and sea around us.
It is from where we come and those who have come before us that we truly gain our strength and place.
Sometimes, when I feel I have had endured the chef’s philosophy and eaten a tweezer-tortured plate of food one too many times, I close my eyes and imagine my happy place, one where all the food makes sense. Boulcott Street Bistro is just that restaurant.
In a nation sorrounded by waters full of fish, it’s good to have a restaurant where seafood is front of mind. Wellington’s Ortega is such a place and it’s a much-loved institution. The look is authentic Portuguese bistro – a mosaic- tiled floor, marine-blue walls complete with mounted fish and an eclectic mix of fishing portraits, glass fish floats, subdued and clever lighting.
My cooking is understated and old fashioned. I like to present a hero ingredient in a way that adds to its natural beauty and doesn’t distract from it. I don’t use foams or gels and I like to use herbs and edible flowers as part of the dish, which is easy when you have a kitchen garden but also when you have a planter of herbs under the window.
Let’s be honest, Prego is an institution as much as it is a restaurant. For 32 years it has not only been a stalwart of Auckland’s restaurant scene, but an integral part of the cultural landscape of Ponsonby Road. Amongst the ‘boom- and-bust’ cycle of the hospitality industry, it’s a forever restaurant, reassuring you by its mere presence as if nothing could ever happen to it.
Spring is a difficult time of year when cooking seasonally. Nothing is quite ready, yet after a cold winter of heavy, rich flavours everyone is craving the green, white and incredibly peppery and fresh flavours and colours of early spring. You can call on a few bits preserved from seasons before, but when trying to reflect time and place through food, it can be challenging.