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CHOSEN, NOT FORSAKEN

Plabita Florence has made it her business to elevate vegetables, especially the friendless ones and those peelings, leaves and pits that we often throw away without a second thought.

THE NEXT MEAL ISSUE 205

Cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts – the brassica family isn’t the most effortlessly romantic of vegetable groups but there are many reasons to love them.

BAR BITES / The Sugar Club

Fifty-three floors up the Sky Tower with an unobstructed view over sprawling Tāmaki Makaurau, The Sugar Club is undoubtedly elevated in the physical sense, but equally so in the level of thought and execution that goes into the offerings from both kitchen and bar.

COLOUR ME NATURAL

I was brainstorming salad ideas for this issue when Cuisine editor Kelli Brett mentioned that the all-time favourite Cuisine salad was one created by Lauraine Jacobs, named Salade Rouge.

LOCAL HEROES ISSUE 204

Sitting between Dunedin and Timaru lies the district of Waitaki, combining the wild, windswept eastern coastline, the haunting, natural beauty of the Mackenzie plains, the towering, terrifying Southern Alps and reaching around Twizel towards Lake Tekapo.

MOANA FRESH

Storm shell clams, octopus and pāua are three kai moana that you might not have considered cooking – the tricky ones, the ones you wrestle with, the ones you avoid.

IN THE SWIM

Marinating and curing (pickling, salting etc) are methods used to ‘cook’ fresh, raw fish in cultures around the world.

LOCAL TREASURES

New Year’s Day 2021, and I am at one of my favourite places in the world, Rarangi Beach. I'm ankle deep in the soothing waters of Te Koko-o-Kupe (Cloudy Bay), throwing a piece of driftwood for my dog Charlie and absorbing the calming, transcendent energy that only this place gives me.

THE NEXT MEAL ISSUE 204

The real workhorses of the ocean, shellfish manage to punch above their weight. Quite innocuous-looking things that come in a kaleidoscope of flavours and textures, it is a true blessing to eat something that’s as sustainable and helpful in the water as it is tasty on our plate.

BAR BITES / Captain’s Bar

Like most chefs at the top of their game, Callum Liddicoat is an energy bomb of creativity and anxiety. It’s written on his Instagram feed where, amid the edible artfulness, he posts motivational messages such as ‘Never stop creating new shit’, and on his arms where the visual symbolism tells a personal story.

ESTHER

Sean Connolly was just a few days away from opening Esther, his latest Mediterranean- influenced Auckland venture in upmarket QT Auckland hotel.

LITTLE WORKS OF ART

It is thought that tomatoes originated at the northern edge of the Andes in South America, travelled up through the Americas and were then taken by the Spanish to Europe and the Middle East, and more latterly India and Asia.

The Next Meal Issue 203

Corn is an undeniable summer superhero veg; it oozes the colour, smell and taste of the bright and sweet conditions in which it thrives.

BAR BITES / Mr. Pickles

Mat Pedley of Hamilton’s Mr Pickles recently won the Good George Local Hero title at the Waikato Food Inc Awards 2020 so it’s clear that he is pretty well regarded around town.

LOCAL HEROES / WAIKATO

The Waikato and dairy famously go hand in hand, but travel across the region and you’ll find there is so much more to it than just Hamilton.

LIFE’S A BEACH

I’ve only ever lived away from the ocean once; it’s been a constant throughout my life and is where I feel at home.

KEEP YOUR COOL

Hot summer nights need cooling desserts. Personally, my favourites for this time of year are combinations of fresh fruit with ice creams, sorbets and cream.

THE HOOD

I’ve been talking to Asher Boote (owner of Wellington restaurants Hillside, The Ramen Bar, BOL and Daisy’s) about burdock and it reminds me of dandelion and burdock, a soft drink from my childhood; a little Googling reveals that it is indeed made of the plant that Asher is so enthusiastic about.

Berry Berry Nice

Berries can only mean one thing: the warm weather has arrived!

Gifts From The Sea

I’m writing this just as Auckland has come out of Level-3 for the third (and hopefully the last) time.

Bar Bites / Napier (Bistronomy)

You’d expect Napier – nestled as it is in the heart of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s oldest and second-most abundant wine region – to be bursting with good wine bars where people who are passionate about wine can help visitors and locals alike to taste and buy the region’s world-class wine in relaxed, classy surroundings.

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT

Gareth Stewart loves chefs. It’s just as well: as executive chef of Nourish Group he oversees 11 restaurants of vastly different stripes including Auckland big names Euro, Andiamo and Soul and pubs, cafés and steakhouses across Wellington, Auckland, Taupō and Queenstown.

THE NEXT MEAL ISSUE 202

Asparagus spears pop out of the dark earth giving us the green-light signal that warmer, brighter days are finally here.

IN THE HEART OF ASIA

My first travel overseas was to Bali on a family holiday when I was 11; it opened my eyes and changed my life. As soon as I could I travelled further, mostly within Asia as that’s the place that calls to me the loudest.

MAKING THE LINK

A scratchy phone line to Rob Beard is explained by the fact he’s on a high inland farm in Hawke’s Bay inspecting farming stock; he’s also overjoyed by the fact that he’s just spotted three deer.

LOCAL HEROES

I’m a proud Wellingtonian through and through, but it is a hamlet only an hour’s drive north of the nation’s capital city that has captured me.

THE NEXT MEAL ISSUE 201

Every fruit and vegetable has that magic window where they sing their best tune and can be found in real abundance.

WISTFUL THINKING

Travel has been a huge part of my life and the thought of not being able to leave New Zealand stresses me out.

CAN WE PRETEND?

We are all armchair travellers now, whether we like it or not. Like many of you, I was about to travel on holiday, taking my first trip outside Australasia in over a decade.

GOOD WILL HUNTING

When a guy has been in this business for as long as Des Harris, and with such an impressive back catalogue including Logan Brown and Clooney, you’d think he’d know it all.

THE NEXT MEAL ISSUE 200

Every fruit and vegetable has that magic window where they sing their best tune and can be found in real abundance.

BAR BITES / CIVIL AND NAVAL

When Louis Dyer first opened Civil and Naval right after the earthquakes it was important to him that it was a place to come into and forget about the flattened city.

BOUNTY HUNTER

It’s one of the best times of the year to be cooking; the harvest season when the autumn vegetables are full of flavour, but some of those early winter vegetables are appearing too.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Let’s take a look at the old and the new” said the editor. “What we were eating in New Zealand back in the day versus how that dish would look on today’s dinner table.”

WELL PRESERVED

I come from a long line of preservers. Like many nanas around the world, mine spent her days gardening and preserving her bounty in all manner of jams, chutneys, sauces and pickles that lined her pantry shelves year-round.

ATTENTION GEEKERS

When we started to plan this issue, the idea was for a potluck dinner for a group of friends. However, at the time we went to print it was not possible to gather to eat and spend time together.

FIRE WORKS

The locked door has become part of the folklore at Pasture, Ed Verner’s Auckland restaurant. How six guests per sitting amble down the Parnell laneway to find the restaurant barred, have to wait outside until, bang on time, comes the reveal with Ed ushering diners inside.

THE NEXT MEAL ISSUE 199

Peaches, honey, brioche, coconut crème brûlée – we’ve gone all sun-kissed and sweet for this section. Beautiful stone fruit is still in full swing, so if you’ve got plums, apricots or nectarines then feel free to use them instead of peaches.

ON POINT

Don’t just think of vegetable skewers as a cringeworthy combination of things on a stick – you know, button mushrooms, pineapple and capsicum, with a couple of dry griddle marks to whet the appetite.

BAR BITES / MADAME GEORGE

Recently we’ve found that some of the most imaginative and downright delicious food we’ve enjoyed are those little bites designed to accompany a drink – be that a glass of wine, a cocktail or a house-made shrub or cordial.

GARDEN GRILLS

I have to be completely honest with you, as a life-long vegetarian barbecues have always freaked me out.

THE SAFFRON TRAIL

Recently, I was lucky enough to join NZ Travel and Tours on a food tour of Iran.

THE BEST THING…

Toast in any form is one of my favourite meals at any time of the day.

EAT RETREATS

The tiny timber hut where chef Angus McLean hangs his hat only has an outdoor kitchen.

NEW CLASSICS

We'd like to think we’re purists with the Mediterranean classics, having spent a bit of time getting to know them, but in fact we’re far from it.

THE TASTE ODYSSEY

There are certain ingredients that just evoke the Mediterranean and here I have picked some of my favourites.

SLEEK GREEK

While vegetarian food is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Greek food, it is entirely possible to take the main flavours and ingredients used in Greece to create something that’s exciting, packed with flavour, meat-free and made without too much effort.

YOU CAN HACK IT

We all need a few tricks to make summer meals a little bit easier. I like pulling a jar of something out of the fridge and putting it to good use.

SEA CHANGE

As a young child, Teresa Pert watched and absorbed the good-housekeeping tricks that her mother employed to feed a family of five for two nights on just one fish.

WHERE’S THE PARTY?

At Cassia we love to showcase the best of our locally sourced ingredients complemented by Indian flavours.

SOUTHERN BELLE

Our first trip to the island of Sicily was via a Rick Stein episode in 2016.

Rise to the occasion

The Christmas period is a time for big-occasion meals, whether it’s the formal Christmas dinner, a barbecue or a ‘bring-a-salad’ affair.

I and thou

When planning food for a party, I really don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen, so getting 90% of the prep and cooking done in advance is high on my priority list – along with deliciousness and looking great of course!

WASTE NOT, A FRESH TASTE, MAKE YOUR OWN, THE TRANSFORMER

Whether your produce comes from a market stall, a supermarket aisle, the fruit and vegetable shop around the corner or straight from the soil in your own garden, there’s no denying the fragrant, assertive flavours of summer veges.

THE CULPRITS

Slashed with neon, the crisp whitewashed brickwork and open kitchen of Auckland’s Culprit restaurant don’t immediately shout of nostalgia, yet that’s the first word that co-owner Kyle Street uses to sum up the guts of the place.

SCIENCE FARE

THE INVITATION READ: You are invited to an exclusive dinner with renowned, multi-award winning, executive chef Paul Greening, currently revolutionising the Asian food scene in London...

OVENPROOF

FERMENTATION CAN BE A SCARY endeavour, particularly when allowing wild yeast and bacteria to do the job that a commercial product can do very reliably, but not nearly as well (don’t get us wrong, we always have dried active yeast on the fridge shelf for when a loaf of focaccia or some flatbreads need to be whipped up in a flash)

Fuzzy Vibes

Bringing everyone together over food is so important and the dishes here are perfect to make when the cold weather has us clustering together around the table.

BETTER TOGETHER

What does comfort mean to you? A bowlful of warm soup prior to a Netflix binge?

FISH & BITS

The skin of fish such as snapper, tarakihi and blue cod crisps beautifully in the pan and adds great texture and crunch to a dish.

Everybody loves Raymond

EARLIER THIS YEAR SkyCity’s Huami restaurant was in the news when it offered a height-of-luxury feast to celebrate Chinese New Year, priced at an eye-goggling $18,000 for six.

GRASS ROOTS

THE CITRUS-LIKE clean flavour of lemongrass is both refreshing and invigorating.

Street life

JANE LYONS AND WILL BOWMAN OFFER A SNACK SHOT OF BANGKOK’S FAMED STREET FOOD.

MELTING POT

FILIPINO FOOD IS, in many ways, a fusion of the influences, ingredients and flavours of the native people with Spanish, Chinese, Malay and, more lately, American immigrants.

SOUTHEAST FLAIR

I’VE SPENT A DECENT AMOUNT of time travelling throughout southern and southeast Asia (and my husband also happens to be Vietnamese).

SOUL KITCHENS, LITTLE PENANG

LITTLE PENANG WELLINGTON MEE GORENG, nasi goreng, nasi lemak, kapitan and char kway teow; Malaysian street food dishes that have become restaurant classics, dishes that are insanely delicious but lack any social graces.

Soul Kitchens – Plato

PLATO You will never be more cheerful than when you have a decent fish pie in front of you.

Fennel, mustard, potatoes

A few years ago we started an Instagram account called The Next Meal as a space to post things we were cooking together.

OH YOU SWEET THANG

My grandmother was a big fan of baked desserts, her specialities being apple crumble and rice pudding.

SHOOTING STAR

Barbara Cooper had no idea what to do with her life. It was 2005 and she’d just graduated from college in Newport Rhode Island.

FAMOUS FIVE

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.

HARBOUR MASTER

Marc’s own education started on Réunion Island, from where his family hail, a small French overseas department east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

CRUNCH TIME

Citrus is definitely one of my favourite flavours, if not the favourite; a squeeze of lemon or lime can transform a dish.

MOOD ENHANCERS

Back in the first century, spices made up more than half of the goods imported to the Mediterranean from Asia surpassing the need for parrots, palm oil, cooks and eunuchs.

A WARM EMBRACE

Trading of spices has been practised since antiquity through overland and maritime routes. It has built and destroyed economies and has come to represent both luxury and the everyday.

ISLAND SPICE

I’m not long home from my second trip to Sri Lanka so, with the memories still lingering in my mind of fragrant curries, sambol and appum (hoppers), it seems only natural that my recipes for this issue give a convincing nod towards the vibrant flavours of this island nation.

Soul Kitchens – Monsoon Poon

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.

MAKE IT SNAPPY

Snappy, pickled, punchy, salty, crispy, sharp – some of our favourite food descriptors, especially when paired with our favourite of all: spicy.

SUGAR FLOUR

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.

THE GOOD WEED

I grew up in a family of kelp fiends. Mostly I remember the thick layer of dried kelp granules my younger brother would apply to his bowls of soup, a seaweed crust if you will.

ON A GO-SLOW

Slow seafood is a new one for us. Up until now, kaimoana has been more of a fast food – a quick fry in butter, a moment over the coals, a swift steam.

STAR MAN

Did he just say curried pineapple ice cream? Yes he did. Ryan Henley, chef de cuisine at Pescatore, explains that it’s one of the innovative dishes that make up his new menu at Christchurch’s longstanding fine-dining restaurant at The George.

HOME

It is from where we come and those who have come before us that we truly gain our strength and place.

STRANDED IN PARADISE

Does the thought of a recipe for Spam horrify you? Until I suggested using it in the musubi here I had never tasted it.

Soul Kitchens – Boulcott Street

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.

UNDER WRAPS

A little parcel of food is like a gift on your plate. You find examples of food wrapped in leaves in many cultures; the leaves can impart flavour, retain moisture and protect from vigorous heat sources, such as fire. Wrapping individual parcels is a bit time consuming, so best kept for a weekend or when you have a bit of time.

Cutting it fine

I have a fascination for, and healthy addiction to, noodles. In their many guises they provide endless opportunities for discovery, as well as a tasty textural vehicle for whatever ingredients the season and your location permit.

Less is More

‘Eat less meat’ Is a common message nowadays, both for health and for the environment and I have been cutting down on meat in home cooking for a long time now. I always hover somewhere around wanting to be a vegetarian because of animal welfare issues, but also really enjoying, say, a bloody good steak.

Would you like fries with that?

Bring on summer – lazy afternoons at the beach or pottering in the garden with the sound of cicadas and the warmth of the sun – I cannot wait! For me, summer entertaining is all about making life easy so that I can get out and make the most of the longer days.

Seafood… and eat it

Easy cooking is what summer-holiday meals are all about for me. Seafood in particular makes for fast, flavour-forward dishes. Mostly I’m happy with a piece of grilled fish and a simple salad, especially if the fish has been freshly caught, but there’s also a time when I hanker for a kick of heat in the food and sharp, clean and fresh flavours from plenty of Asian herbs.

Cold as Ice

Iced desserts are kinda my thing – I love the simplicity of the ice-block- making process, the gratification one gets from scraping frozen syrup to form granita and the instant joy from blitzing up frozen fruit to form quick, healthy, instant sorbets.

House Party

When I was growing up my parents often had friends over for dinner.

Stick It

The barbecue has been the centrepiece of the Kiwi summer routine for decades – and for good reason. Every country has their own version of barbecue, where smoke and fire are the transformative elements and, traditionally at least, these cooking methods have been accompanied by a strong social element. There’s something about the sound and smell of something cooking over fire that draws people in.

Soul Kitchens – Ortega Fish Shack

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.

Natural Selection

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.

Bloomin’ Heck

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?

Love Bites

I love the lead up to Christmas and summer. As the weather improves and the days lengthen, everything seems somehow easier and more festive. I often like to gather 10-12 people together for relaxed drinks followed by a help-yourself dinner like this one.

Whey to go

A perfect piece of cheese is a simple pleasure and NZ cheesemakers work tremendously hard, with passion and dedication, to give us that.

Heart Felt

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.

Soul Kitchens – Prego

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.

Super Natural

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.

Love Street

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.

SHINE ON

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.

Han Solo

Alice Neville meets the chef bringing a modern take on Korean cuisine to Auckland
It's been discovered as a mystery of the soul, a complex sadness, a sense of collective injustice mingled with a feeling of hope and the ability to silently and stoically endure hardship.

RECIPES

Makes: approx 2 litres
Preparation: 10 mins plus overnight soaking
ALMOND MILK
20210409105636
Makes: 1 medium-sized block
Preparation: 10 mins plus 4 hours setting time
Cook: 5 mins
VEGAN CHEESE
20210409104555