Exceptional. Memorable. Fresh. Creative. Tasty.
Through my career around the world I’ve learnt (as many Kiwi chefs have) that New Zealand produce is almost certainly second-to-none. So, if I was asked to sum up what the most important thing about a great dish is I’d say quality of ingredients and the knowledge and nouse to let them shine.
And I can’t help feeling that a farm life teaches you as much as any fancy restaurant. Working with the seasons is all I remember about my childhood – with the abundance of produce in the Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa, my wonderful memories are of summer trips to the BAY to pack the Holden Kingswood up with stone fruit and baby dill peppers, so my mother could pull out the preserver and Agee jars and stock the cupboards with fruit, chutneys and pickles to get us through the winter months. With these rural foundations I now strive to deliver food from Land to Table, in keeping with the seasons.
My repertoire isn’t just high-end. My experience covers everything from fine dining to big-numbers catering. After returning to New Zealand in the late 90s I worked Chefing around the city, owned my own restaurant (Onslow) and ran the helm at Ponsonby’s Ripe deli. I’ve also worked as head caterer on film locations around the globe, so no event, party or occasion’s outside my bounds.