When the test came from The Sugar Club executive chef Josh Barlow at 2am, “Does Heston have any dietary requirements?” I realised, that in the mad panic to get my mitts on Heston, I’d forgotten to ask. Surely not? How hard can this be? Heston is escorted in, microphones and cameras are put in place and he launches into a fascinating story about a frog who needs to think to breathe. “I think we take our breath for granted.”
With today’s culture of rock-star chefs (and sometimes super-sized egos to match), and in an industry which can be tough on junior staff, it’s refreshing to meet a chef who spends much of her working life hidden behind the scenes, who cares about developing and mentoring those under her charge and who uses her skills to help in the community.
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.
Tracy Whitmey talks to a young chef bringing fine-dining techniques to traditional Lebanese food. The menu note sums up entirely what Gemmayze Street is all about: A large part of Lebanese heritage and culture is conveyed through our food and the way we share a meal with our loved ones. Gemmayze Street symbolises the pillars of any Lebanese gathering: food, hospitality, love and family.
Of the current buzzwords, ‘passion’ is tossed around with abandon these days, but when Simon Levy describes his dish of clams as food that “hugs you, just embraces you” it shows that his heart and soul are poured into INATI, the Christchurch restaurant he owns along with his wife, Lisa.
Kingsland welcomes a new addition on New North Road. KINGSLAND SOCIAL is the new all-day brasserie by Phil Clark of Phil’s Kitchen. HARBOUR SOCIETY has opened on the 15th floor of new hotel, SO/ Auckland. It’s home to French chef Marc de Passorio, former owner of Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Esprit de la Violette.
GUEST CHEF RECIPES
AUCKLAND. Not trying to bark up my own tree but burgers are a topic that I could confidently debate about. I have had my fair share of the delicacy in my short 21 years of living in Auckland and built a strong body of knowledge that I take great pride in. To me, a burger is more than just a sandwich with triple the saturated fat.
DUNEDIN. Moiety is a fresh and exciting addition to Dunedin’s vibrant warehouse precinct, housed in the smartly refurbished 1880s Railway Central Terminus Hotel building.
CHRISTCHURCH. The Birdwood is a beacon in the night while all around is sepia, sleepy and quiet. Enter this food nest through the double doors, however, and the surprise is the captivating buzz, warmth, and heady yeast aromas from the pizza oven.