After 42 years in the hospitality industry, I have gleaned knowledge working with many head chefs and chef colleagues who have shared their wisdom along the journey. I have travelled through Australia, Sri Lanka, India, England, Germany, Portugal, Thailand and, of course, New Zealand. I was classically trained but when travelling I soon realised how simple and delicious food could be, particularly in Asia and Portugal. After spending time working in several leading New Zealand restaurants, I was offered the position of Executive Chef at Otahuna Lodge where I have been for over 16 years now!
With 30 acres of organic gardens (growing over 140 varieties of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and mushrooms) we use as much from the Otahuna gardens as possible. Using simple classics and balanced innovation, we prepare nightly dinners consisting of two canapes followed by a 5-course degustation menu.
This is always dependent on the seasons. During spring time, globe artichokes & asparagus feature prominently. We are particularly passionate about sustainability and the reduction of waste and are trying to preserve our precious water and reduce our energy consumption through solar energy resources.
We all work in a new kitchen designed by me. The kitchen is calm and we have a lot of fun. I personally like to challenge myself to learn about other cuisines. This shines though especially with vegetarian cuisines from other cultures.
When cooking vegetables always thoroughly coat them in olive oil or butter before roasting over a high heat to achieve a nice caramelisation. Seasoning with salt is the best way to get flavour out of vegetables but beware not to use either too much or too little.