A preview of Metita, Michael Meredith’s new venture at SkyCity.

When Michael Meredith first started talking to the team at SkyCity they asked him, “If you could do anything, what would it be?”. “It had to be something near to my roots, something Polynesian,” he says. “My early memories of food all stem from there. It all comes back to my mum, so I knew if I did something I would name it after her to celebrate her, to give a sense of Pacific food and my journey as a chef.”

So, here comes Metita – due to open in October 2023 – located at The Grand by SkyCity in the space formerly housing Gusto at The Grand. Michael says, “I will present my version of the Pacific. It will be the things I grew up with, a remembrance of the old dishes but with refinement. I want to use some traditional elements changed to suit the times, with a bit more acid and a touch more spice.”

At Metita, Michael will take on the executive chef role, working once again with head chef Giada Grilli. Giada worked with Michael at Merediths early in her career (and he mentored her through the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition in Sydney in 2019) and he is looking forward to the perspective their collaboration will bring.

Michael Meredith

“I enjoy her perception of what Polynesian food could be. All my life I have been banking my food memories but for Giada Polynesian food is still quite new so she brings an openness, though her experience is massive. In my head I have an idea of what I think it should be, then when you trust someone else’s palate and get their honest opinion it’s all valuable.”

Joining the SkyCity stable Michael becomes the latest in a notable cast of chefs past and present, such as Al Brown, Nic Watt and Peter Gordon which, he says, speaks volumes about SkyCity’s positive outlook.

With menus still in the planning stage, Michael is brimming with ideas that he wants to bring to life, casual dishes with lots of seafood and the best New Zealand produce. ‘Polynesian’ is a broad descriptor and he plans to highlight the regional diversity of how ingredients are used across the Pacific. “Differences are quite subtle, so I want to do it the way I see it without losing the place it came from. You have to be honest about what you put on the table and the challenge is to get the flavours to make sense when you eat it.”

Metita is something Michael has been working towards for a long time. “You get to a time when it’s right to celebrate what’s important to you. Let me share my take on Pacific food. Not what it used to be, but what it can be.” TRACY WHITMEY