Page 1

Winter 2010

Regional Fare: Celebrating our best local products

Tall Poppies

Peter Gordon on NZ’s image at risk p10

Regional Fare The best of Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury p14 Volume 8 Number 2

NZ $6.95 incl GST WINTER 2010

A bit scary

Tasting game p40

three seats or a couch? the choice is yours economy skycouch™ Our new 777-300 planes will be flying on selected services to Australia and Los Angeles (ex Auckland) from November 2010 and to and from London (via LA) from April 2011, and will be progressively rolled out until completed in 2012. London will be on sale from 26 April 2010.

editorial Resource Editor John Clarke

No room for complacency I

n just over a year we will get the opportunity to showcase New Zealand to an audience of millions worldwide. The international media won’t be showing much of the much-vaunted natural beauty of our landscapes – long considered the main (if not the only) reason for overseas tourists to make the long journey to our shores. The focus come September 2011 will be on the games and the experience of visitors – and the media themselves – around those matches. This is new territory for us – being under such a focused international spotlight. No promotional campaign could buy the kind of exposure we will get and we get only one chance to do this right. There are some things our industry can’t do much about – transport issues around the matches for example and the match venues – but we can show our visitors Kiwi hospitality. We can make them welcome, feed them well and entertain them in our establishments so that in turn they become ambassadors for New Zealand. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful promotional vehicles. Conversely, negative experiences by visitors have the power to do almost limitless damage to our reputation and the hospitality sector. Most visitors will be eating from one or other of our establishments three times per day, not counting cafe and fastfood stops for coffees and snacks; that’s a huge number of hospitality experiences. As New Zealand cuisine has developed, and we’ve started to build a reputation for great raw food sources and talented chefs, a certain smugness has grown – a conviction that we have food experiences here to rival those anywhere in the world. But as Peter Gordon warns on pages 10 and 11 there are things about New Zealand that aren’t so pretty anymore. Scratch the surface of some of our food supply chains and you’ll find things we wouldn’t want to show our international visitors. It’s up to our industry to support the good producers where possible so you can say to your diners: “We stock the finest local wines and we match them with shellfish / game / free-range chicken from local suppliers to create special items on our menu that epitomise this region.” grill’s Taste Of New Zealand Awards (TONZAs) is encouraging this development with a national campaign to recognise cafes, bars, hotels and restaurants that are creating menu items that are excellent expressions of the local food and culture. Complete and return the form on inside back cover or visit and click on the TONZA logo to join this campaign. Are we prepared to go, in the words of the Jim Collins book about companies that make the leap, ‘from good to great’ by September next year? I hope so.


Consulting Editor Keith Stewart Copy Editor Gill Prentice Staff Writer Sarah Habershon Contributors Kezia Milne, Marisa Bidois, Geoff Griggs, Sam Kim, Daniel Schuster, John Hawkesby Advertising Account Manager Peter Corcoran 09-817 4367 021-272 7227 Design & Production Jan-Michael David Production Manager Fran Marshall 027-430 4559 Subscriptions 09-845 5114 $27.80 a year (incl GST) for 4 issues Printing & Pre-press Benefitz Publisher Toni Myers A Mediaweb publication

Mediaweb Limited PO Box 5544 Wellesley Street, Auckland 1141 Phone 09-845 5114 Fax 09-845 5116 © 2010 Mediaweb Limited ISSN 1179-4356

Auntie Hine.




12 Peter Gordon.

contents WINTER 2010

Josh Emett.

TAPAS 4 Letters; Cocktail World Cup; Shaking up on the world stage; Chancers & Visionaries; Steak of the Nation; Barista Championships; Diary of upcoming events

salamander 8

The Lewisham Awards 2010

10 Tall Poppies Another’s place by my name Peter Gordon talks to grill about New Zealand’s international image and what we need to do about it.


My place by another’s name

Josh Emett talks to Keith Stewart about Ramsay’s new restaurant in Melbourne.

16 Aorere - Nelson From giant seafood producers to brilliant boutique wines

19 Kaikoura - Marlborough Big wine, big acquaculture and wild game country

22 Aoraki - Canterbury Established producers developing innovative products. Big meat, dairy and kai moana




25 Fish Take

A damn fine fresh idea – Tio Point oysters


Xxxxxx 0

Regional fare Aorere - Nelson, Kaikoura - Marlborough and Aoraki Canterbury The first of five features that will cover the whole country.

14 The Spirit of Hospitality Three fine expressions of Regional Fare Restaurant Schwass – The Old Bank, and the Wholemeal Café.

New Zealand aquaculture – A bright future? Maybe… New marine farming has been almost non-existent, but now perhaps things looking up.

28 Market Intelligence The heart of the magazine and our industry The latest seasonal update on the supply of the material we sell – food.

36 The Red Report • Game – are you? • Frankly cabernet

slow food

TASTINGS 40 Game An introductory tasting Often neglected, always delicious, invariably different, rarely tough … and a bit scary.

42 Wine Sauvignon for our reputation’s sake grill tastes our top savvies.

45 Wine Penfolds makes a grand entry Australia’s best paraded at Melbourne’s most fashionable eatery.

46 Spirits Hard to find spirit Fine rum – Move over, the pirates of the Caribbean are here.





ATTITUDE 52 The Spirit of Hospitality Sharpen Up The “reregulation” of liquor sales proposed by the Law Commission has sent shivers through the hospitality industry.

54 Food Act New food bill is a blank canvas A call to action: restaurant sector needs to meet challenge of new legislation.

55 Employment Relations Good faith It is not a religion, but a requirement. By Marisa Bidois

56 Restaurant Association


The feast, the fare and the Fernando The hospitality industry’s three premier events in August. By John Clarke

48 The Spirit of Hospitality

57 Taste

Hospitality in New Zealand A photo essay Cooking up a storm at The Fine Food Show

50 Wrap Up On top of all that grill asks how we keep the lid on things.


Four things you need to consider this winter. Training, systems, consistency and leaders; we need them all. By Marisa Bidois

58 Wine Aromatic Beauties Sam Kim on understanding Nelson; undeniably a fine wine region.

59 Beer A tale of two Marlboroughs Celebrating “twin town” relationships. By Geoff Griggs

60 Danny’s Diary The good side of sugar On adding sugar to grape must in order to increase the alcoholic strength of the wine. By Danny Schuster

61 Animal Lovers Keeping Daisy out of the dark Sarah Habershon looks at factory farming in the dairy industry.

62 Dirty Deeds • For those about to rock Sarah Habershon salutes the musicians in New Zealand’s public establishments. • Exhausted tuna grill asks why we are allowing carbon monoxide treated tuna into this country.

64 Bar Nun Southern hospitality – a conversion The Bar Nun takes the mission to the mainland.



TONZA tickles the taste buds Talk Back

ck and We like feedba te. We try to encourage deba d letters but publish all signe ht to edit or reserve the rig summarise.

Good read This is actually the best mag I have seen for a while. Very independent, am impressed.

I have just completed the Le Cordon Bleu Master of Arts (in Gastronomy) through Adelaide University. My dissertation and one of my specialist areas of research is in the development of gastronomic or culinary tourism. I worked for UCOL and Le Cordon Bleu in the Wairarapa where part of the development focused on developing networks of specialist producers to further the development of the region through recognition of the special food products and producers. I have just finished the last grill magazine that arrived in the office. I was most impressed with the TONZA initiative and the initial work done on defining the regionalisation of New Zealand’s regions. A hearty well done!

Your last issue of grill was excellent. I have only recently come upon it and really enjoyed the many and varied articles within its cover. I especially enjoyed your “Local is Hot” article, which is why I am getting in touch. Rather than write a long history of Volcanic Coffee, suffice to say that we have been roasting locally for over two years, have a fabulous product and a wide and enthusiastic local following on the Central Plateau. We champion the positive aspects of shopping fresh within one’s own district (provided the quality meets the highest standard of course) and would just like to say that we are very much here, doing it! Thank you grill.

Stephen Chaney LCB Master of Arts (in Gastronomy), LLCG, CCP

Jo Steele (Owner/Roaster) Volcanic Coffee 38 Tui Street, Taupo

Claire Allan Huia Vineyards

More on the good oil We were very pleased to read the review on the EVOOs (Extra Virgin Olive Oils, Autum issue). Delighted that our Frantoio scored so well especially as we had sold out and I had to find one of our retailers who still had a bottle that I could buy back to send to you! It is interesting that the Frantoio is favoured by foodies, whereas our Manzanillo is favoured by olive oil experts. Different tastes and all that. The other two varieties that we had (Kalamata and Sevillano Blend) were also really popular and we are thinking of having all of our current crop put into EVOO rather than table olives as the oil sells itself. Kiwis still seem a bit backward when it comes to olives although they enjoy the free samples at our local farmers market. Gayle La Casa Toscana

(Shocking website, fabulous coffee!)

Please find attached our completed TONZA form. We are excited by this and think it is an awesome initiative. Well done. Brian Thompson Food & Beverage Manager Crowne Plaza Christchurch Love the concept and aims of TONZA and trust we can really get our teeth into it. Tony Smith chefex@crowneplazachristchurch. I am manufacturing a range of beverages in Canterbury made from wild harvested elderflowers. I would love to be part of your Regional Fare TONZA Awards! Mark Dillon Aroha Drinks Ltd


Diary Dates June 27

Thyme on their hands Team USA named best vodka cocktail bartenders in the world by 42BELOW’s judges.


espite being the host nation for the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup, New Zealand has never won it. This year, a respectable third placing went to Team New Zealand for “42 Cuba St”, which contained 42BELOW Manuka Honey, chocolate and decanter bitters, a spray of gunpowder and over-proof rums. Team members Josh Crawford, Calem Chadwick and James Goggin used a never-before-seen technique called ‘flazing’ to aerate their drink using dry ice. From more than 2000 competing bartenders around the world, 24 individuals from seven countries made it downunder for the finals of the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup. Held over five days, the competition comprised a series of challenges in Queenstown and Wellington. The Grand Final event in Wellington saw the Team USA trio of Mark Stoddard, Todd Thrasher and Sean Hoard emerge as winners with their cocktail “I have too much thyme on my hands right now at this point in my life”. They were followed by Team France in second place with “Le RendezVous”. Judges commended Team USA for their level of performance and presentation. You can meet the teams and feel the drama on 42BELOW’s YouTube channel, 42belowvodka.

D KTAIL WORL COC LOW E B 42 RECIPE WINNING 0 1 0 now 2 P CU ands right e on my h

SECOND MATARIKI GOURMET HANGI Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia Peter Gordon joins the Turangawaewae Marae cooks and hangi masters to raise funds for the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre.

June 27

MATARIKI HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY AWARDS Whangarei, Northland Celebrating hospitality in Northland.

July 29 - August 1

THE FOOD SHOW ASB Showgrounds, Auckland

August 22

FEAST BY FOUR FAMOUS CHEFS SKYCITY, Auckland Rooms Tickets will be on sale from July from The Restaurant Association.

August 22-24

CULINARY FARE Hall 2, ASB Showgrounds 75 comps and 120 hours of competitions – be there! For the full story go to or Closing date for entries is July 23. For entry form go to CulinaryFare.asp Call 0800 SALMON or visit

much thym I have too t in my life at this poin vodka z) 42BELOW 30mls (1o aperitif z) artichoke 15mls (½o yme syrup oz) lime th 45mls (1½ bitters h of apple nish. Liberal das alls to gar le thyme b p ap ed ss Compre


The virtual Kitchen BASIC FOOD SAFETY TRAINING THAT IS FAST, FLEXIBLE AND VALUE FOR MONEY The Kitchen is a new industry-designed interactive DVD targeted at the professional food-handler audience. The Kitchen has been designed by industry professionals and delivers basic food safety techniques in a cost-effective way to any computer screen at a time and place most convenient for the user. The film and course take as little as two hours to complete and the theory is backed up with valuable practical experience; there are several exercises that the viewer can complete online. The Kitchen’s actors are supported by real people with real skills who will give answers to questions via email within 24 hours. The key components covered are: • Hygienic Food-Handling • Workplace Cleanliness • Personal Hygiene • Monitoring and Control of Food Safety These elements will give food handlers clear understanding of their responsibilities while working in a commercial kitchen and help them to gain the necessary credentials for the position. This is an easy, cost-effective way to equip employees with the basic food-handling skills necessary for the safe operation of commercial food production premises. It means there is no need to attend external training courses. Plus, you can try before you buy, as there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. Students who have completed the programme may then undertake on-job assessment for Unit Standard 167: Practice Food Safety Methods in a Food Business; a qualification required by many hospitality employers. The course is also ideal for anyone wanting to prepare for employment in the food industry. The Kitchen was made by Otago Polytechnic in collaboration with HSI and Intuto.

For more information or to purchase a copy of The Kitchen, go to

Shaking up on the world stage Wellingtonian mixologist wins international recognition in Havana.


laire Harlick, of Wellington’s Matterhorn Bar, renowned for its well-versed, passionate staff and superior service, stood out amongst the world’s best at the 2010 Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix held in Havana, Cuba, scoring a flavoursome second place out of 37 competitors. The new set of competition rules and regulations introduced for 2010 allowed for more creativity from the mixologists and Claire impressed the judges with her ability to create new cocktails. The competition entailed the preparation and presentation of three unique drinks in 10 minutes,

Claire Harlick competes in the New Zealand finals.

accompanied by an explanation of their creation. Cocktails were judged on their appearance, aroma, taste, finish and balance; competitors on their skills, knowledge, innovation and communication. First place went to Marcis Dzelzainis from the UK. The runnersup to Claire were Ioannis Petros Petris of Greece and Giuseppe Santamaria from Spain. The biannual Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix has come to be recognised as one of the most prestigious events of its kind since its inception in 1996.

Chancers and Visionaries: A History of New Zealand Wine by Keith Stewart Godwit $49.95 Reviewed by John Clarke “... a masterpiece – the definitive work on the subject”, according to North & South reviewer Warwick Roger. Better than that, it gives some of the credit for the revolution that has given us credible, enjoyable New Zealand wine to the hospo trade, something most writers on wine never acknowledge. Well written, it reads like a good story filled with all sorts of crooks and inspirational artisans, as well as a fair sprinkling of dodgy politicians, sharp thinkers and flaky scientists. In other words it is New Zealand’s story, from a surprisingly productive period before the turn of the 20th century through the grim temperance years to the revitalisation that licensing restaurants delivered in the 1960s. A must for every sommelier who needs to know the whole story of New Zealand wine, and for chefs who like a good read.


Big meat – Steak of the Nation


he Steak of Origin challenge 2010 saw a Limousin/ Angus steak produced by sisters Kathy Child and Yvonne Hill from Whangarei take out the top award from 400 entries spread across five classes to be named New Zealand’s tastiest and most tender sirloin steak. The Steak of Origin competition, a Beef and Lamb New Zealand initiative to champion the best of New Zealand’s home-produced beef, is in its eighth year, and is sponsored by Pfizer Animal Genetics. Each steak is aged for three weeks before being tested for tenderness, pH and percentage cooking loss. The most tender steaks make the semi-finals and are cooked and tested by a panel of judges in Christchurch. Four from each class were selected as finalists and tasted at Beef Expo in Fielding on May 18. The Supreme Brand award went to Chef’s Choice in Wanganui for its AngusPure steak, and the winning Processor was Auckland Meat Processors. Among the tasting judges were top chefs Hester Guy and Graham Hawkes. The class most relevant to the hospitality industry is Class 5 Best of Brand (wholesale and foodservice). This year’s winner was Chef’s Choice, Wanganui (AngusPure) from the farm of Lindsay and Maria Johnstone. Second place was Westmeat/Riverlands, Eltham (Angus) from Holesworth Paringahaw; third was Progressive, Southmore (FarmPure Certified Premium Angus) from the farm of Dave Redmond, and fourth was AE Preston & Co, Wellington (Angus) from the Rotopiko Trust farm.

Pride of the South Christchurch barista knocks out top spot at Barista Championship finals


uciano Marcolino of Luciano Espresso bar, Christchurch, repeated his successes of 2008 and 2006 at the 2010 National Barista Championships final held at the Allpress Roastery premises on April 17, taking out first place ahead of seasoned competitors. Runner up was Hideyuki Kono, also from Christchurch, followed by David Huang from Auckland’s Espresso Workshop in third place. Kono has placed second for the last two years, and travelled to the World Barista Championships in 2009 as part of his prize. In the last year he has been working alongside four-times champion Carl Sara at Crafted Coffee. Huang is also rolling on repeated success, having placed third in 2009. All three will be present at the World Barista Championships held in London from June 23-25, where Marcolino will compete against competitors from 52 other countries. There will be a strong Kiwi presence, with six New Zealanders amongst the 30 judges on the panel. World Barista Championship judge Jessica Godfrey was pleased to see further development and improvement in the New Zealand competition, as well as a deeper understanding of coffee “including how origin, processing and degree of roast really influence the flavour of the coffee that each competitor chooses to use at the championship”. She noticed a strong move to the use of Single Origin coffees, and simple blends comprising only two origins. “Ethiopian coffees – Harrar, Yirgacheffe and Sidamo were very popular this year. The move to Single Origin coffees is an international trend, something we saw at the World Barista Championship last year in Atlanta.” Godfrey is looking forward to observing the new trends at this year’s championship in London. NZ Barista Champion: Luciano Marcolino, Luciano Espresso Bar, Christchurch Runner up: Hideyuki Kono, Crafted Coffee, Christchurch Third: David Huang, Espresso Workshop, Epsom, Auckland Fourth: Kayoko Nakamura, Espresso Workshop, Epsom, Auckland Fifth: Matt Troughton, Mojo Old Bank, Wellington Sixth: Nick Clark, Memphis Belle, Wellington Seventh: Erin Luke, Caffe L’affare, Wellington

Simunovich Olive Estate award winning extra virgin olive oils

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Salamander Lifetime Achiever Vic Williams.



he Lewisham Awards held in Auckland on May 30 concluded with the now standard night-long carousal by the Auckland hospo industry. There was a raft of awards made to individuals and establishments with Master Chef judge Simon Gault deservedly taking out the Personality of the Year award. Britomartbased bar and café Agents & Merchants was the big winner on the night taking best venue and the outstanding bar, waiter and wine list awards. A special Lifetime Achiever Award was presented to Vic Williams for his great support to the industry over his career. The winners were: • Apra, Best New Auckland Venue: Agents & Merchants • Moet Hennessy, Best Auckland Establishment: Prego • Moana Pacific, Best Restaurant Food: The French Cafe • Allied Liquor, Outstanding Bar: Agents & Merchants • Café l’Affare, Outstanding Coffee Establishment/Barista: John Landreth, Landreth & Co • Tequila Patron, Outstanding Bartender: Chase Bickerton, The Corner Store • HSI, Outstanding Chef: Simon Wright, The French Café • Beam Global, Outstanding Local: Mo’s • Dog Point Vineyard, Outstanding Hospitality Personality: Simon Gault, The Nourish Group • SKYCITY, Outstanding Maître d’: Melissa Morrow, Ponsonby Road Bistro • Pernod Ricard, Outstanding Restaurateur: Martina Lutz, Number 5 • Restaurant Association, Outstanding Sales Rep: Dave Aberhart, Red and White Cellar • Negociants NZ, Outstanding Wine Service Professional/Sommelier: Brad Sullivan, Chambers Bar • Telecom, Outstanding Supplier: Red and White Cellar • Crombie Lockwood, Outstanding Waiter: Scott Campbell, Agents & Merchants • Laurent Perrier, Outstanding Wine List: Agents & Merchants









fresh ideas


A noise annoys an oyster, but a naughty nose annoys a nose more.


arlborough marine farmer Bruce Hearn has been in the aquaculture business for over 35 years and is now farming oysters in Tory Channel. These are the same species as the wild flat oysters dredged from Foveaux Strait (ie Bluff oysters). This oyster is very closely related to the famous French oyster, Ostrea edulis, which typically is called a Belon, being named after the area in France at the mouth of the Belon River where many

of these oysters are farmed. Oysters of this family are recognised world wide as the favourite of connoisseurs. Tio Point oysters are held in deep cold water in hanging culture away from grit and sediment and in the zone where the phytoplankton is at its highest. They have a very high meat-to-shell ratio at about 31%. grill tried these fresh oysters at Restaurant Schwass and my god we were impressed.

They look great and had a fresh clean taste with a lovely texture, plump and firm without a hint of mushiness. Complex flavours were enhanced by an interesting sparkling character reminiscent of the sea. These oysters are only available delivered live in the shell, which has caused Hearn a few problems. “There has been some resistance to our live product; it seems modern chefs these days don’t want live oysters. I think many of them either cannot or will not be bothered to shuck oysters,” says Hearn. Well, we tried our hand and they are the easiest oyster we’ve ever opened and can confidently say any chef who is not a complete maladroit could be taught to open Tio Point oysters in 10 minutes. Previously these oysters have only been available to this country’s dozen or two top restaurants. This oyster farming venture is still very new, but Hearn is now in a position to be able to supply these great oysters to as many New Zealand hospitality enterprises as want them and at a very good price. We at grill encourage you, New Zealand’s restaurants and bars, to support Tio Point oysters in the future. A case of use it or lose it!

NEVER! NEVER! store oysters in water, NOT even a restaurant aquarium. This is a food safEty warning, take it seriously.

look and

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Tall poppies

Another’s place by my name

Peter Gordon talks to grill about tall poppies, New Zealand’s international image versus the reality, and what we need to do about it.


f we want to grow an international reputation for great food and build New Zealand as a culinary tourism destination we need to up our performance right through the food chain. From our “commodity mentality” to persisting with the “clean green” myth, New Zealand’s many food industry failings attract criticism from perfectionist (and equally harsh selfcritic) Peter Gordon. New Zealand’s most internationally recognised culinary champion warns that we need to stop deluding ourselves about how fabulous we are when we face myriad failings, from our appalling child-abuse rate, to the false perception of a pristine environment. He was in town recently to celebrate the fifth anniversary of SkyCity restaurant, Dine by Peter Gordon not his choice of moniker by the way.

The master chef bent the ears of grill’s resource editor (and chef) John Clarke and publisher Toni Myers about his own journey, food trends and a wakeup call for New Zealand. “New Zealand needs to stop waving the clean, green banner,” says Gordon, until such time as the reality can match the claims. His concern is that the increasing sophistication of many diners, especially tourists, frequenting our restaurants threatens to expose our primary sector’s continued dependence on chemicals and artificial fertilisers, amongst other shortcomings. He points to strong trends in food marketing and consumption including traceability, seasonality, regionality and the focus on food miles and ‘buying and eating local’ which have fed the rapid growth in farmers’ markets and coined the term ‘locavores’. Dine’s dining room, kitchen and Peter Gordon with John Clarke.

Research has shown that many of New Zealand’s food exports to the UK have a lower carbon footprint than their European equivalents, despite making the trans-global journey. Gordon is fronting a campaign in Britain promoting New Zealand lamb and argues we should be making a bigger noise where we do have good stories to tell. He points out that millions of people – not just the tens of thousands who will visit – will be looking at New Zealand during the World Cup next year. “It’s important that they see the best of New Zealand; that we push our high-end [food, dining and hospitality]. And it’s important that the visitors have an amazing experience.” Achieving at that high end of the market means setting very high standards. “I put a management team in place that can carry that excellence

Tall poppies

through – although no one will ever do everything to my standards. I set my standards at 150 percent and if I then get 80 percent I’m happy.” Gordon says wryly that staff are both “the best and the worst thing about your business”. Getting and keeping good service staff is harder here than in the UK. “Kiwis on the floor are relaxed, but sometimes too relaxed. The best customers are pissed off ones; they’re a challenge then to turn around.” Although he bemoans the prevalence of the tall poppy syndrome here, his advice to young Kiwi chefs is definitely to go offshore to lift their game. “When I left at 18 I’d never seen olive oil or tasted avocado.” A world of experience and opportunity opened for the young man from Wanganui

people [who’ve done well offshore] say they get such a hard time when they go home to New Zealand.” New Zealanders who travel away come back with higher expectations. “London consumers are far smarter than those here and Europeans generally are used to a culture of food.” And he says, the more Kiwi chefs are consulting offshore, that ups the ante here as well. “Consultant is not a bad word,” although he’s obviously felt criticised for adopting that role. From our perspective he’s earned the right to adopt what title he chooses. He could, for example, choose to add ONZM (Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit) after his name, but pretentious he is not. He is, after all, the acknowledged contemporary “father of fusion cuisine”.

“A demanding teacher hands us a report card bearing the words, ‘Could Do Better!” who started his chef’s apprenticeship in Melbourne, then travelled in Asia, before returning to New Zealand for a period where he set up the kitchen of the original Sugar Club restaurant in Wellington. Gordon was executive chef at two iterations of the Sugar Club in London in the 1990s, and in 2001 he opened, along with partners, the nowcelebrated The Providores and Tapa Room on London’s Marylebone High Street. He and his partner Michael McGrath are now sole owners. He has since become involved in many other restaurants and food businesses around the globe, including establishing the Waitaki Braids vineyard back here in New Zealand. “The tall poppy issue is a typical New Zealand thing. Getting acknowledgement for those doing great things is much easier overseas. I hear so many

We came away chastened but inspired by an hour with Gordon. His perfectionism and expectations are no more than he expects of himself or his teams and you can tell the criticism comes from a real desire to see his home country achieve its great potential in the food and food-service sector. But we did feel as if rebuked by a demanding teacher who, having set high standards and knowing you can reach them, hands you a report card bearing the words, ‘Could Do Better!’. While some will want to take the pruning shears to this tall poppy for daring to achieve fame and recognition overseas and returning to tell us what’s wrong back home, a hefty pinch of Gordon’s realism might be just what’s needed as we gear up for the international scrutiny next year’s Rugby World Cup will bring.



Without Fusion, the Italians wouldn’t be serving polenta. Corn and maize are from the New World as it was once called – the Americas. Thais wouldn’t have chillies or peanuts from the New World or coriander, which is a Mediterranean herb. The Spanish couldn’t serve their delicious grilled toast rubbed with garlic, olive oil and tomatoes (tomatoes are from the New World) and the Brits have Peru to thank for the potato and India and China for their tea. In New Zealand we think of feijoa and tamarillo as being part of our lives – but they are both South American. And where would a pavlova be in the Antipodes without a slathering of fresh passionfruit pulp (South American) or some sliced kiwifruit (Chinese). If we trace back all of the classic ingredients from each cuisine – we’d be very surprised at what we’d find.


Tall poppies

My place

by another’s name... Josh Emett talks to Keith Stewart about Ramsay’s new restaurant in Melbourne.


Photos courtesy of MAZE

e is one of the most famous chefs in the world; Gordon Ramsay, the potty mouth chef, television celebrity, kitchen bully, philanderer, multistarred Michelin phenomenon, super chef – choose your persona and Ramsay probably fits it, at least in some branch of the media if not in his own head. Except, the patron of Maze by Gordon Ramsay in Melbourne, the newest outpost of the continually expanding global Ramsay food empire, is not a multi-faceted gustatory phenomenon, but a country boy from the Waikato ‘done good’. Josh Emett has Maze Melbourne up and running successfully, and now just waits on the verdict of Melbourne’s tribal food critics who are as likely to be influenced by one of the Gordon Ramsay characters they either despise or love as they are by the food and service on offer at Maze at the Crown Metropol. Not that Emett is phased by the challenge of establishing luxury food venues having done the same job for Gordon Ramsay Inc in London and New York before arriving back in the Southern Hemisphere. Maze dining room.

Ironically, Emett’s job is not to be a manager so much as a colonist, the leader of a team that brings a culture to Melbourne’s restaurant scene with him as a culinary Governor General for London-based Ramsay. He has been imbued with Ramsay culture by years of working for him, becoming part of Team Ramsay to the point where he thinks and breathes his boss’ philosophy. This is not about bringing recipes to new destinations; it is about establishing outposts of Ramsay excellence that have the same capacity for winning three Michelin stars as those in northern metropolitan centres such as London or Paris. “This is not like McDonald’s, where you set up a logo over the front door, have a plan for decor, canned music and a bunch of recipes created at head office,” says Emett. “That is a franchise, this is an extension of Gordon’s philosophy of excellence. “My position is weird,” he acknowledges. “Technically this place is Gordon’s, but I can only be successful if

I treat it as my own. When I am buying equipment, or setting up the menu, I have freedom to operate. What I have to achieve is standards and commercial performance, and I can only achieve those by assuming this is my place, taking on ownership.” And that obliges him to take ownership of Ramsay’s standards, to exercise them as if they were his own. Indeed, they are his own, garnered over 10 years of working in Ramsay kitchens, of conforming to Ramsay philosophies and encouraging them in others who work beneath him. “You can’t teach somebody something you have learned over 10 years; you can only create a place where they learn by practise. It is all the little things that make the difference at this level of operation, attention to detail and making sure you get everything dead right. Some of this stuff you can teach by telling people, but other things they only learn when they get their work rejected every time they get it wrong,” he says. And yes, he admits there are people

…fine food excellence is not achieved by failing to concentrate.

who will never learn – and they no longer work for Gordon Ramsay. Not because he made them cry, as is popularly assumed, but because fine food excellence is not achieved by failing to concentrate, or by not have the stamina to hang in there when the going gets tough, which can be every single night. “If there is one feature of the way Gordon operates, it is a really strict operation back of house,” Emett confides. “For a lot of people who have never come across that sort of attitude it is a real shock and many of them walk away because they just can’t handle it.” The other key point insisted on by Ramsay is that there is no recipe for operations. What needs to be done is to fit the restaurant into its local cultural environment by making sure the menu and service delivers what locals expect, not what is considered exceptional in London. “It is very nice to have the freedom to operate as I see fit,” Emett admits. “But if you think about it, that is the only way it can work in different locaMarinated beetroot with goats’ curd.

tions. To understand the local climate, you have to be in the local climate, and the decisions need to be made by people on the ground, not at head office.” So how well does it work. To find out I came back a couple of evenings after talking to Josh and dined at Maze, without him knowing – no point in giving him an unfair advantage; the Aussie critics certainly won’t. Observation of front-of-house over three visits in four days revealed a very high level of professionalism and attention paid to creating a welcoming environment. No matter if the guest was there to interview the boss, sell some wine, engage the man, hold a business meeting, or come in for a coffee and pastry with a friend and kids in tow, the same friendliness and calm efficiency was obvious. Throughout the meal service the standards were similarly high, although our food waiter was more enthusiastic about leaving our table than he was arriving. It was as if he wanted no further contact with the food or his customers once each dish was delivered. Maze – real food.

Tall poppies


He was pleasant enough, but at this level a degree of interest such as that shown by the outstanding sommelier is to be expected. The wine service and the list were better than some French three-star establishments, at least in the range and detail of their offerings, and the half bottle of premier cru Meursault that we had was sensational. But it was the food that was Emett’s most persuasive version of cuisine Gordon Ramsay, and if compared with a meal at Melbourne’s much feted Vue de Monde a day or so earlier, this was the real oil. These were complex dishes, effortlessly balanced, inviting and saturated with flavour. With a couple of minor exceptions (mild tasting scallops and a dry poussin breast) every detail was secure in its role and performance. Four courses, equally weighted as to value and place in the restaurant (no entreé, main, desert here) made for a wonderfully indulgent evening of food, drink and intellectual challenge. The Governor General is doing good. Head Sommelier Lincoln Riley and Josh Emett.

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Regional Regional fare fare

Fine expressions Photos: Sarah Habershon

In support of the Regional Fare Campaign grill showcases establishments that source and promote locally grown and produced food and beverages; establishments that are a fine expression of their region. The Old Bank, Restaurant Schwass and The Wholemeal Café exemplify some of the best in their localities.

Restaurant Schwass Michael Guy’s Eating Out – Regional Restaurant of the Year 2009 and deservedly so. Johnny Schwass is your fairly passionate sort of chef, one who cares deeply about every item in every dish that goes over the pass. He has an affinity with the products he prepares and his own garden, where many of the vegetables and herbs he uses in the kitchen are grown. He takes infinite care in sourcing the very best meat, fish and poultry for his diners. Locally sourced food of integrity is offered on a daily changing menu with a focus on whole animal sensibility. As chef Johnny says, “The animals that join

The locality: 190 Ferry Road, Phillipstown, Christchurch. The style: Bloody fine restaurant – seriously seasonal, seriously local. us for dinner are chosen from free range farms, organic where possible or from the wild.” Schwass respects the products he prepares and works to get his meat locally and preferably in bloody big lumps (that is sides of lamb and quarter beef), so he can break down the meat himself. He goes locally whenever feasible and likes to use Longford organic beef and lamb, Ashby’s Butchery and Westwood’s free range, Bio-Gro certified organic meat chickens. Game birds come from Cantervalley Farms and furred game from Premium Game. He has in his words “a little guy

supplying me my mushrooms”, and whatever produce he does not grow himself he procures off organic local growers where possible. His cheeses change regularly with a good selection of local cheesemakers represented. The wine list has been as thoughtfully put together as the menu and is 95 percent Kiwi. Other beverages are predominantly local artisan brews including the wonderful organic elderflower drinks from Aroha at Waikirikiri, Leeston. Restaurant Schwass – prime TONZA country!

Regional fare

The Wholemeal Cafe

Wayne Green found a description of the Wholemeal Trading Co in a New Zealand travel guide whilst living in Oregon, US. Several years later, on a visit to Takaka in 1989, he purchased a share in the company as an avenue to express his interest in wholesome, sustainable systems. Elements of The Wholemeal Cafe’s locality are intimately fused with the identity of the establishment. The cafe is housed in the old Takaka theatre building, which was constructed in 1910. The theatre closed in the early 1970s, and the grand, elegant building was divided into small, poky spaces. The Wholemeal Trading Co began in an old farmhouse in the late 1970s as a bulk food co-op, and

The Old Bank

The Old Bank has undergone big changes and licensee Mike Pink, who took over the premises in 2009, has brought a lifetime of experience to the venture. Mike is a great lover of the craft beers which are a key feature of the Old Bank. He is a member of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) in the UK and SOBA (Society of Beer Advocates) here in New Zealand, these being bodies concerned with the promotion of real ale. Hailing from London, Mike’s international experience in the trade is extensive, including stints in Spain and Malta. His last posting in England was in North Devon, where he ran a 16th century inn. Community matters are central to his philosophy; he volunteers at the


The locality: Takaka. The style: Local cafe – more a local institution really.

took up residence in a section of the old theatre where residual kitchen fittings from a defunct tearooms made it viable to transform the space into a wholefoods shop and cafe. The venture slowly grew and expanded throughout the building, revealing the high, embossed metal ceiling and restoring the venue to a sense of significance. Today the interior is bright and airy and boasts a proliferation of local art, some of which is owed by the cafe, whilst other pieces are for sale on behalf of the artists. Initially, The Wholemeal Cafe catered for a very small, niche market. Being as it is today a very large cafe in a very small town, it had to be built up to

this scale from small beginnings. In the early days all the food was vegan and vegetarian, but market demand drove a shift to accommodate non vegetarians. Today it’s about a 50/50 split, with plenty of gluten-free options available. The menu presents a fusion of local and foreign foods and cultures, which again reflects the nature of Takaka – a popular destination for some of the quirkier foreign travellers. A number of local organic beverages (including Demetercertified Treedimensions Organic Apple Juice, from just over the hill in Motueka) reflect the region’s focus on organics and sustainability.

The locality: Redwoodtown Marlborough. The style: Local pub

local Citizens Advice Bureau in order to stay in touch with the needs of his community, and runs his business in such a manner as to reflect those values. The Old Bank stocks beer from predominantly local breweries, though it’ll stock any good quality craft beer for which there is a demand. Each month The Old Bank aims to showcase a guest beer from other boutique breweries around New Zealand, and to bring in the relevant brewer to meet the customers, answer their questions and discuss what they brew. But it’s not all talk of yeast and hops – a fair bit of tasting goes on. The Old Bank uses local suppliers wherever possible, thereby keeping the money in the community. It prides

itself in giving prompt service to satisfy customer needs, and expects the same in return from its suppliers. Good quality products are crucial to the success of any business, as is the delivery of those products to the consumer; the Old Bank maintains a strong focus on hygiene standards and regular cleaning of all beer taps and pipes. Local breweries represented at The Old Bank include, Renaissance Brewery, 666 Brewery, Moa, Pink Elephant (when available) and Bays Brewery (almost local). Plus, there are a number of artisan beers from other localities such as Dunedin’s Green Man, and Emerson’s, Christchurch’s Three Boys and Auckland’s Epic.

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Regional fare fare Regional

Photo: Sarah Habershon

Regional Fare: The top of the south – Aorere, Kaikoura and Aoraki

Aorere – Nelson district The grill resource team travels to three regions in the central and northern South Island to check out the lay of the land and sea and discover what is on offer. This is the first of five features that will cover the whole country. grill’s intrepid team found a bunch of passionate nutters from tiny boutique outfits to big corporates, all totally dedicated to growing, creating or supplying the hospitality sector with the best food products their land and sea can provide. We also found another bunch of passionate hospo nutters committed to presenting those same great local products to their patrons. This is why the Regional Fare Campaign and the Taste of New Zealand Awards (TONZA) programme exists; to promote and expand both groups by stimulating interest in and the use of local foods – and foster the development of a truly indigenous cuisine. Don’t panic! The following pages by no means cover the full extent of each region’s food resources, but rather give a taste of what each region has to offer.

Impressions of Aorere The Nelson district is a land of contrasts – white sandy beaches, steep rugged mountains, glacial lakes, stony rivers, interspersed with vineyards, hops, fruit trees, small towns and fishing villages and sheep and dairying. There is a sense of intense cultivation and productivity on one hand and wild remoteness on the other. The remote areas are noted for wild foods and game, including pig, red and fallow deer and honeydew. The area has a rich seafood resource and, with its large offshore fisheries, is the country’s fishing industry centre. There is a surviving inshore fishery and an extensive shellfish and crustacean harvest of scallops, clams, flat oysters and crabs in the Tasman and Golden Bay areas as well as paua on D’Urville Island. Aquaculture and its processing is also a feature. On land there are extensive pip fruit orchards, soft fruits such as currants and raspberries, olives and nuts and, of course, vineyards. Sheep and beef farming are represented and there are a number of smaller specialist dairy units supplying the growing cohort of artisan cheesemakers. We had an impression of people who love their land and sea and are totally committed to what they are producing from it.

Nelson waterfront.

Expressions of Aorere The seafood industry is the obvious economic driver with around 70 seafood and aquaculture businesses and Nelson the largest fishing port in Australasia. Two of New Zealand’s largest deepwater fishing companies Talley/Amaltal and Sealord are based here. Two companies with good reputations which supply the hospitality sector are Guyton’s and Solander. Guyton’s has been around for a while, has an excellent range of seafood and supplies not a few local restaurants. Solander has its own fleet of vessels and is well known in our industry as a top supplier of an extremely wide range of fresh, frozen and live seafood products. Many of the top chefs around the country swear by this company. Aquaculture has a big presence in the district with both New Zealand King Salmon and Sealord having processing plants in Nelson. New Zealand King Salmon rears salmon at Pu Pu Springs near Takaka, transports them to sea cages in the Sounds to finish and processes them in Nelson. grill had a chat with the general manager of sales and marketing Don Everitt, and like all the New Zealand King Salmon people we met, he is damn proud of the advances that have been made and justly so.

Regional fare

King Salmon’s frozen salmon fillet portions won Best New Foodservice Product at this year’s Fine Food New Zealand Awards and at the recent International Taste and Quality Institute (iTQi) Superior Taste Awards in Brussels six products were entered and all received either the maximum three stars (exceptional) or two (remarkable). Sealord processes greenshell mussels from farms in Marlborough Sounds and Golden Bay including organic mussel products developed in partnership with, and certified by, Bio-Gro – a world first. The iwi-based Wakatu Corporation cultivates, harvests and processes greenshell mussels under the Kono (basket) brand. They have created a number of added-value products from grade-A mussels. Kono has come up with a cool idea for assembly-type cafes – trayed-up, parcooked half-shell mussels flavoured with chilli and horopito, lime and kawakawa, and lightly smoked with karengo. The product is oil based, looks smart and tastes great and gives a traditional twist

to the dreaded ‘heat and eat’. It’s not only large innovative companies catching on to the direction the market is heading; the region is full of small artisan-style producers chipping away at food mediocrity. Take Brightwater Gold’s beautiful hand-picked organic saffron at Teapot Valley south of Nelson, or The Old Post Office in Upper Moutere ­– home of Moutere Gold, fine traditional preserves with no compromise on quality for the sake of profit. Further up the hill is the great Neudorf winery, 30 vintages old and producing some of the best wines in the country. Neudorf Dairy has had a bit of a hard run lately but now has a new owner so hopefully we can look forward to a steady supply of these award-winning sheep’s cheeses. Neudorf Olives is owned and operated by husband and wife team Jonathan and Susan Pine and is producing very good varietal extra virgin olive oils. And there’s Neudorf (popular name this) Mushrooms; Hannes and Theres


Krummenacher grow the wonderful saffron milk cap mushroom around the roots of spore-infected pines and have recently branched out, using spore to cultivate birch and larch boletes. Back down the road is the Day family’s Kahurangi Estate vineyard, the oldest commercial vineyard in Nelson with its excellent hand-crafted wines. Also in Upper Moutere is Stuart and Kathryn Franklin’s Proper Crisps – you might ask what this has to do with foodservice; just try them, they’re bloody good. On Waimea Estuary, the Mapua Smokehouse is built on the old Mapua Wharf, and uses traditional brick kilns and natural manuka shavings to smoke


Pinot Noir – end of vintage.

Solander – highly recommended as a premium supplier of premium seafood to the hospitality trade At grill we are told regularly by the top chefs that Solander is the go-to supplier for the best seafood. So, naturally, when in Nelson on our Regional Fare foraging expedition, we went along to check out their credentials. Solander supplies the freshest fish available, but it also catches the fish, bringing only the finest product to the hospitality trade. As it is all caught by Solander’s own vessels, the delivery of the catch is directly managed from the sea to your kitchen. Solander is genuinely committed to sustainability and the environment – that is their livelihood – and all fish are caught using long lines, which also ensures fish are in pristine condition when landed. Solander has consistently supplied the widest range of seafood available to our trade. It has regular supplies of all species of game fish, either fresh, or super frozen to -60 degrees Celsius

in the Japanese style, which ensures excellent colour, taste, texture and shelf life. Solander also supplies an amazing variety of shellfish and crustaceans, including koura when it’s in season. Its 6000-litre live tanks are spotless and all live species are in prime condition. It is all a bit like picking up the freshest fish from the fisherman at the wharf, except it arrives at your kitchen door. And, unlike the fisherman down at the wharf, with Solander you can rely on an extensive consistent fresh supply of seafood no matter what the weather.


Regional fare

Expressions of Nelson – wine A selection by Danny Schuster (DS) and John Hawkesby (JH).

Neudorf Vineyard

Photos: Sarah Habershon

A well established small producer of superb, terroir specific wines with great balance and focus. Estate grapes show the purity of an organic, biodynamic approach to viticulture and the hands-off cellar regime.

Nelson harbour. Top: Neudorf 30th vintage team.

local products. Also on the shores of the Waimea, Frog’s End Olive Oil produces fruity and herbaceous award-winning extra virgin olive oil. Other good olive oils are from the Moutere Grove organic farm and Eden’s Paddock – both small producers based in the region. Over the hill near Takaka, Meadowcroft Cheese produces a very good goat’s cheese and in a little pink cottage up the coast in Collingwood is Mary Taylor’s Rosy Glow Chocolate. A chocolatier for 15 years, she makes truly artisanal kick-ass flavoured chocolates – now also available at her Nelson shop. Golden Bay is also where Alister McDonald harvests little neck clams at Pakawau. These are available under his Westhaven brand either live or snap frozen in their juice. And then there are the local brewers: Founders, Nelson Bays, Lighthouse, Townshend, Monkey Wizard, Mussel Inn and the famous McCashin’s of Stoke – spoilt for choice really.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc JH: Restrained, elegant style. Lovely balance, fine acidity in a long, dry finish with mineral hints. DS: Fresh bouquet with a focus in layered aromas backed by minerality, balanced acidity and long, dry finish. Medium weight and finesse – for seafood. 2008 Chardonnay JH: Full complex bouquet of stonefruit and lanolin with high vinosity. Nutty, classical use of oak. Generous flavours with a fine balance of fruit and oak leading to a glorious finish. DS: Full bouquet, ripe pear, melon and stonefruit aromas with complex integrated lees and oak flavour. A combination of power and finesse in a long finish – set to be a great wine with time. 2009 Moutere Pinot Gris JH: Supple stone and citrus fruits, a little closed. Soft flavours in a dry finish. DS: Full bouquet, stonefruit and fresh lime. High vinosity with a youthful undeveloped flavour. Fine texture in a balanced finish.

2008 Moutere Pinot Noir JH: Classical game, spice and cold tea nose, concentrated velvety flavours. Elegant well balanced tannic finish with hints of forest floor, great length. Brilliant. DS: Well coloured, high vinosity, ripe fruit with depth, complexity and layers of flavour. Gamey hints in a fine grain tannic finish. Will age well.

Weingut Seifried A pioneer producer of medium size, well known for well priced, regionspecific wines both white and red. Notable for fine quality rieslings and other aromatic whites.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc JH: Pungent, big nose of cut grass, citrus and armpit hints. Supple fruit, simple structure with a short finish. DS: Full-on sauvignon blanc, traditional NZ style. Ample flavour, but a little short in the finish. 2009 Gewurztraminer JH: Aromatic bouquet of lavender and turkish delight. Soft structured, spicy flavour. Light body and luscious sweetness in a medium-sweet finish. DS: Full bouquet, lifted aromas. Floral/tropical spice and herb-like spice flavour. Soft acidity, sweetish finish. 2009 ‘Agnes’ Icewine, Winemaker’s Collection JH: Full bouquet of candied fruits and sweet almonds. Rich flavour of fruit cake, raisins and marzipan. Good length with balanced acidity in a sweet finish. DS: Full intense bouquet with an exotic mix of candied citrus, spices, almonds and raisins. Luscious texture with fine acidity in a youthful finish.

Regional fare


Kaikoura – Marlborough and North Canterbury to the Hurunui mouth Impressions of Kaikoura A dry country, one that stretches from the deep gravel soils of the Wairau Plain in Marlborough to the Hurunui and split down the guts by wild rugged mountains, the Kaikoura Ranges. A region where the rainfall never gets above an average 1600mm a year – although the day we arrived the drought broke and it seemed we had brought the full 1600mm with us. The natural vegetation is predominantly grassland, both lowland and subalpine, with lowland mixed beech forest at the coastal margins of the Sounds in the north, and north and south of Kaikoura township. The Wairau Plain is the one dominant winegrowing region in New Zealand, most famous for its sauvignon blanc and spar-

kling wines, but with notable wines from pinot noir, riesling and pinot gris varieties. The region is also the biggest aquaculture producer in the country and has the giant dairy farms of the Waiau and Culverden plains. But dig a little deeper and you will find all sorts of things, the remnants of the extensive stone fruit orchards of Wairau, small inshore fisheries out of Picton and Kaikoura, deer farming and an impressive range of wild game, not to mention the region’s original agricultural food resource – dry country sheep and cattle. Initial impressions were of grass and vineyards, of sheep and wine, but we found a lot more than this: Kiwis born and bred using their knowledge and love of the land to produce fine expressions of their region; and another bunch of ‘new’ Kiwis who have found a love for this land, bring-

Deer hunting in the Kaikoura region.

ing with them old knowledge and skills to produce new expressions of the land. All so we in the hospo sector can create dishes and provide drinks to humbly lay before our patrons as a celebration of our best local products. Expressions of Kaikoura Heading north from the Hurunui it is obvious that pastoral farming is still the predominant expression of the land, and in the small settlement of Cheviot there is a fine illustration of this environment – Harris Meats. Harris Meats is the family-run fully licensed abattoir and meat-processing business owned by brothers Bryan and Nick Harris. The shop may appear small and unobtrusive but the heart of the business is the factory in Hurunui Mouth

Photos: Premium Game

kaikoura – marlborough district


Regional fare

Photos: Sarah Habershon

4 The barrel room at Herzog. Gathering chestnuts in May.

Bottle rack, Herzog winery.

MOA fine Marborough beer.

Herzog restaurant kitchen prep.

Pottager garden, strawberries.

Road, Domett. Harris Meats has been a butcher in Cheviot for over 50 years and has spread its wings far and wide providing some of the best wholesale meats to some of the best butchers and restaurants in the three regions featured. Kaikoura, once a backwater now a tourist centre, still has a small fishing industry based around cod, hapuku and of course its crayfish. Hislops Wholefoods Cafe in Kaikoura is a very good example of what can be done with local organic products. Up the east coast and over the hill is Lake Grassmere with its pink ponds and white salt cliffs, the home of Dominion Salt. We called in for a look and it is a remarkable place. The creation in 1943 of the late George W Skellerup and still using the simplest natural production methods, Dominion Salt harvests salt from evaporation ponds. The ponds have in turn been colonised by brine shrimp and an amazingly complex environment for wildlife has been created. The salts, Pacific Natural Salt (the unrefined version) and Marlborough Flaky Salt are Bio-Gro certified organic products and damn fine salts, as good or better than anything imported. From the dry sunny foothills of eastern

Marlborough comes the very high quality saffron of Gourmet Gold. The Saffron Room grows premium-grade saffron as well, this time in the Wairau Valley (alongside the vineyards) processing it into extracts and oils. This is also garlic country and while taking a few hits over the years the supply is back up. Phoenix Garlic processes garlic harvested by two growers, the Murphy and De Castro families, for the New Zealand market. Marlborough’s other major garlic producer, Piquant Garlic, also supplies the local market. Our Kiwi garlic is better flavoured and three times as strong, so what is the point of buying that Chinese junk flooding the market. And on garlic, the Original Smoke & Spice Company (a Canterbury company, but it uses this region’s products, so we can get away with it!) smokes Marlborough garlic over manuka, bay and rosemary giving the bulbs a smoky, sweet, mild, nutty character. Marlborough Solar Salt is also smoked, by hand, and tumble roasted with garlic, shallots, coriander and chilli, and the result – interesting but excellent. The Kaikoura region is serious game country and a serious game company is Premium Game – the greatest little game

processor in the country. This is where you go if you want a quality range of cuts from furred game. Venison, wild pork, goat, tahr, chamois, hare, rabbit, wallaby and more, plus processed wild meats including manuka-smoked wild pork and venison (see our game tasting on pages 40 & 41) – it’s all available from Premium Game. Marlborough is aquaculture country with the largest marine farming enterprises based here. The bulk of the country’s mussels and all New Zealand King Salmon’s fish are farmed in the Marlborough Sounds. There are a number of smaller ventures including the fantastic Tio Point flat oysters, Croisilles Pacific oysters and further out on D’Urville Island Edward Chapman (D’Urville Abalone) farms paua. Another very fine expression of a regional product is the wine from Herzog Winery, and a very fine expression of the use of this region’s products is the Herzog Winery Restaurant. And then there are the beers; five brewers dedicated to real ale, but you’ll have to go to to find out about them and other great products from this region. Oh, and then there are the wines of Marlborough ...

Regional fare


Expressions of Marlborough – wine A selection by Danny Schuster (DS) and John Hawkesby (JH).

Fromm Estate Well-established small producer with top-class vineyards employing a traditional, hands-off approach to winemaking and producing vineyardspecific wines.

2005 ‘Clayvin Vineyard’ Chardonnay JH: Stone fruit/citrus, fine oak, Burgundian structure. Minerality in a developed sophisticated style with superb balance in a long finish. DS: Complex developed bouquet, high vinosity, ripe stonefruit in a classical style. Fine acidity in a long, dry finish. 2006 ‘Fromm Vineyard’ Syrah JH: Deep colour, sweet aniseed, brambles and black plum flavours with hints of pepper. DS: Generous, full bouquet with dark berry fruits and herb-like spices. Fully integrated fruit and oak with fine grain tannins in an aromatic finish. Elegant style. 2007 ‘Brancott Valley Vineyard’ Pinot Noir JH: Aromatic bouquet, mulberry and cherry aromas with moderate vinosity and subtle, understated flavours in a soft finish. DS: Ripe, full bouquet, red fruit flavours with hints of forest floor. Fine grained tannins, soft textured with length in an undeveloped finish. 2007 ‘Clayvin Vineyard’ Pinot Noir JH: Ripe dark fruits with truffle, gamey/spicey notes. Lovely acid balance and firm structure with earthy hints in a firm finish. DS: Full, complex bouquet, high vinosity, depth in generous flavour. Ample tannins in a balanced long finish.

Seresin Wines A small- to mid-sized vineyard. First vintage was in 1996. Wines are produced using traditional winemaking techniques from organically and biodynamically grown grapes.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc JH: Big typical Marlborough sauvignon with an earthy point of difference. Tending dry, the dash of semillon adds a layer of subtlety and mineral texture. Big, sassy but not overbearing, gentle oak complexity. 2007 ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay JH: Superb wine, lovely acid/fruit balance and a wonderful underbelly of minerality. Judicious oak, Burgundian in style, elegant, sophisticated; quite outstanding. 2007 ‘Rachael’ Pinot Noir JH: Mid-range pinot, elegant nose of dried herbs, cold tea and berry fruit with a touch of truffle and earth. Balanced with purity of fruit and subtly restrained, engaging and sophisticated. Very smart buying.

Allan Scott Winery Medium-sized producer of modern style, cool climate wines. Well known for white wines but, of late, developing a reputation for fine pinot noir.

2009 Moorlands Sauvignon Blanc JH: Lemon and cut grass aroma with hint of minerality and arm-pit complexity. Soft flavoured in a sweetish finish. DS: Fresh, youthful with typical Marlborough aromas and balanced with an off-dry finish. 2008 ‘Hounds’ Pinot Noir JH: Ample cherry, spicy and licorice nose. Well balanced, supple flavours with earthy hints in a soft finish. DS: Bright ruby colour and full bouquet with aromatic quality. Supple textured flavour with slight green edge, moderate length and fine grained tannic finish. Well made.

Wither Hills Winery A well-known and widely distributed larger producer of focused, regionspecific wines, drawing fruit from many diverse terroirs in Marlborough.

2008 ‘Cellar Release’ Riesling JH: Lifted aromas of lime/citrus/candy. Fresh bouquet, light, simple flavours and off-dry finish. Aperitif style. DS: Fresh, youthful bouquet, hints of lime and lees age. Simply structured in a medium style and soft finish. 2009 ‘Wairau Valley’ Sauvignon Blanc JH: Typical fresh-cut grass aroma. Softly textured, herby tropical flavours and spices in finish. A distinctive style for sauvignon drinkers. DS: Moderate vinosity, lifted nose with tropical fruit notes and generous flavours in a sweetish finish. 2009 ‘Rarangi Vineyard’ Sauvignon Blanc JH: Complexity and depth, stonefruit and minerality in bouquet and riper fruit flavours. A balanced finish with fine acidity. DS: Lifted bouquet with high vinosity, ripe fruit and fresh acidity/minerality flavour and balanced persistent finish. 2008 ‘Wairau Valley’ Pinot Noir JH: Full aromatic bouquet with plums and dried herbs. Cherry and plum flavours balanced, good weight and earthy hints in fine finish. DS: Typical Marlborough pinot structure. Lifted nose with red fruits and gamey/spicy hints. Moderate weight, fresh, balanced flavour and aromatic finish; charming.


Regional fare

Aoraki – Canterbury Photo: Akaroa Salmon

Aoraki – Canterbury district Impressions of Aoraki Canterbury is New Zealand’s largest region, has our largest plains, our highest mountains and our greatest rivers. The area is dry and mild, with the exception of the Alps and their foothills, where alpine climates kick in. Cold south-easterly and fierce hot foehn winds from the northwest both have an influence on food resource production throughout the region. The predominant impression is of pasturelands both in the hills and on the Canterbury plains, but as we head south grain, cropping and the new large dairy units become more prominent. Out to the east, the volcanic remnant of Banks Peninsula marks a striking exception to this otherwise singular

land and seascape and provides the only sheltered coast. Game is spectacular in the alpine regions with effectively the world’s last remaining decent-sized herds of Himalayan tahr and European chamois. We found established producers diversifying and developing fine new products, artisans passionate about their particular endeavour and little guys with great ideas for our undeveloped food resources banging away at bureaucracy trying to get a toehold with a new venture. The grill team’s impression is that to Christchurch gravitate all these regional products and that this city is better served than any other in the country by its eclectic cohort of suppliers.

Salmon farming in Akaroa Harbour.

Expressions of Aoraki Based in Akaroa to the east of Christchurch are two family firms that make a living from the sea. Akaroa Salmon has been supplying the hospitality industry with the finest salmon products for many years. It only sells direct and prides itself on quality products and personal service. And a somewhat newer enterprise NZ Kelp produces Valere kelp pepper from dried hand-harvested giant kelp growing on marine farms in Akaroa Harbour, Tory Channel and the Chatham Islands. It also sustainably harvests live kelp from the wild, under fishing permits. And it wouldn’t be Canterbury without meat, lamb and beef in particular, and well serviced the local

perience under its belt and it employs its own experienced stock agents on the ground so chefs and restaurateurs know that the meat products they procure have been chosen for quality, actually on the hoof. All meat is broken down on the premises and again this can be matched to a chef’s particular requirements. All smallgoods are also processed on the premises. The company has a larger presence now, but it still manages that personal touch. And blessed be the cheesemakers of Canterbury. Gruff Junction south of the city produces a great range of goat’s milk cheeses from its very own mob – lots of well deserved awards and lots of very happy chefs. North of the city at Loburn is the award-winning Karikaas Dairy making an amazing aged gouda and a range of European dairy products. It uses natural processes and ages its cheeses on kaihikatea racks. Barry’s Bay Cheese on the way to Akaroa and Canterbury Cheesemongers in Christchurch are also worth checking out. Rachel Scott, 17 years on, is still baking the best bread in the country. Scott can be found at Rachel Scott Bread in Amberley. We came across a number of very good specialty food suppliers in Christchurch, Mercato, Mediterranean Foods and Rare Fare – and that’s just a taster.

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Giant kelp harvest in Akaroa harbour. Karikaas aged gouda. Well hung beef and lamb at Peter Timbs Meats.

Hear no evil, See no evil, Eat no evil.

Photos: Sarah Habershon

Photo: NZ kelp

foodservice industry is. Angus Meats, 35 years in the trade, is a traditional butcher (this means they bloody well know how to handle meat properly), providing personal service and is very well respected by our trade. Chris Timbs’ (whose family have been butchers for generations) is at the helm of Peter Timbs Meats in Edgeware, again a supplier serving the hospitality industry in a way many in other centres would envy. Timbs is doing some mighty interesting things with cured meats and smallgoods, so watch our Market Intelligence column for updates. From small beginnings as a roadside stall in 1992, Raeward has grown to be the premier supplier of fresh products in the Canterbury region. With a staff of well over 300 and supplying over 600 establishments, Raeward still has the attitude of a small personal supplier to our trade. It knows its producers and its customers and can deliver fresh to the hospitality trade seven days week. With a number of chefs on the staff, including its operations manager, this company can legitimately talk to chefs and tailor fresh produce and meat goods to meet an establishment’s specific requirements. Raeward is also a supplier of premium 100% New Zealand meat and smallgoods with 80 years of ex-

Regional fare


Regional fare

Photos: Sarah Habershon

Expressions of Canterbury – wine A selection by Danny Schuster (DS) and John Hawkesby (JH).

Pegasus Bay Winery A well-established and respected producer of region-specific white and red wines of consistently fine quality. Notable for handsoff winemaking approach and its top-class restaurant.

2008 Bel Canto Dry Riesling JH: Big lemon, lime, complex nose. Textured palate with youthful acidity in long undeveloped finish. Lovely, but needs more time. Try with strong flavoured fish. DS: Full bouquet, complex aromas of stonefruit and lime with hints of citrus peel. Fresh flavour, lees age complexity and ample acidity in a firm finish. Needs time. 2008 Waipara Riesling JH: Big nose, lovely citrus and kerosene hints, medium weight, tending sweet. Nice balance and sleepy acidity in long finish. DS: Fresh aromas, floral, citrus spectrum. Medium weight in balanced commercial flavours and sweetish finish. An easy drinking, popular style.

2008 Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon JH: Aggressive, cut peastraw, armpit and vinosity. Nice acid backbone of acidity in tropical fruit. Subtle flavours and dry finish. DS: Classical with full bouquet of ripe citrus/melon fruit. Peppery hints in a dry style. Showing lees age complexity in long finish. A top food wine. 2007 Waipara Pinot Noir JH: Big, lovely nose with aroma of cherries, dark plum and forest floor. Lifted, aromatic flavour and lovely balance of mocha. Smooth tannins and appearance of sweetness in a generous finish. DS: Deep colour and full, concentrated bouquet. High vinosity, toasty oak in youthful flavour. Fine dark red fruit complexity with ample tannins in a firm finish.

Fresh produce at Raeward Fresh.

Waipara Pinot Noir harvest.

Let grill help you The grill Regional Fare features are not intended to cover the full extent of each region’s food resources, but rather give a taste of what each region has to offer. To find extensive coverage of fine foodservice resources in your area and how to access them go to and click on ‘Regional Fare – Market Intelligence’.

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fish TAKE


ew marine farming ventures in this country have been almost non existent over the past five years. This is out of step with what is happening globally where aquaculture is accounting for an increasing proportion of world seafood supply with finfish, shellfish and crustacean aquaculture expanding rapidly. However, now perhaps, things are looking up for New Zealand aquaculture, which is currently dominated by three big species: the introduced Pacific Oyster, Quinnat (often called King or Chinook) salmon and the indigenous green shell mussel. These are the staples that the hospitality industry has come to rely on. On April 27, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley announced

plans for the future shape of the country’s aquaculture industry as it moves to support its goal of reaching $1 billion in sales by 2025, a threefold increase on the current level. The Minister said: “No new aquaculture space has been created under the 2004 reform law and it could remain stalled for some time yet without significant improvement. We want to free up the regulatory bottlenecks that have kept aquaculture planning in limbo. The industry has been stifled by inflexible rules stopping companies from investing in the sector.” He is correct. The Aquaculture Reform Act came into force on 1 January 2005 and resulted in a new regime for the management and approval of

By John Clarke

Lucas Bay, and the entrance to Akaroa Harbour.

Product Profile

Akaroa Salmon Akaroa Salmon farms salmon in a sustainable and very environmentally sound way in Banks Peninsula. The company is committed to the marine ecology of the area

Photo: Akaroa Salmon

and poses no threat to Hector’s Dolphins, one of the world’s rarest dolphins.

Salmon are hand fed.

Akaroa Salmon is unique in this country in that from the outset its sole commitment was to the hospitality industry, with a decision to go for quality not quantity. Twenty-five years on it is still the premier supplier of top quality salmon products to restaurants. Stock at Akaroa Salmon is effectively hand-reared in ideal water temperatures and current flows with extremely low stocking densities. Hand fed, the fish are closely monitored and no antibiotics are used. The advantage of this process

Jason Dell prepares Akaroa Salmon.

is that these salmon are very slow growing and therefore of exceptional quality. This 100% New Zealand family owned business is a thriving niche producer at the highest end of the quality salmon market. Akaroa Salmon is an exclusive brand and is not available in supermarkets. The company grows, processes, packs and markets its own product directly to customers within 24 hours from sea to the plate. It has no need for expensive marketing, finance or sales departments. This hands-on approach adopted by Akaroa Salmon from the outset

is integral to the quality of the salmon it produces and the secret of its success. It has built personal relationships with this country’s best chefs dealing direct, thus ensuring the quality chain cannot be compromised. As Simon Gault of the Nourish Restaurant Group says: “Akaroa Salmon is perhaps the best company I deal with; totally committed to quality and personal service with a phenomenally good product. My loyalty to them is unquestionable.” If you would like this kind of quality product and personal service, contact Duncan Bates, General Manager or Tom Broughton, Customer Account Manager and Sales at 0800 772 5666 and talk to a real person. Akaroa Salmon deserves our continued support, the same support it has given us, the hospitality industry, over the past two and half decades.

Photo: Akaroa Salmon

New Zealand aquaculture – A bright future? Maybe…



fish TAKE

water space with future marine farming only permitted in Aquaculture Management Areas (AMA). The ability to get new water space areas granted became even more demanding with the requirement for Regional Councils to formulate Aquaculture Management plans. This has slowed, if not stalled, development in many areas, in a not dissimilar way to the Resource Management Act (RMA) – and plenty of those in the hospitality trade will know what this can mean to a new project or expansion. Heatley said Cabinet has agreed to a range of amendments that will help boost the sector’s potential to generate sustainable economic growth for New Zealand “We need to create the right platform for our aquaculture sector to realise its full potential. I’m confident this can be done while still protecting the environment and other users of our coastal areas,” he says. “This is about growing the economy, creating more jobs and getting more people into work, particularly in the regions.” The proposals include a range of measures to help aquaculture reach its potential, such as streamlining the RMA, encouraging investment by injecting certainty into the system and a central government commitment to support industry growth and development. Responsibility for the management of aquaculture will remain with regional councils, which will be of concern to the industry given their less than businessfriendly approach to implementation of the RMA. However, the reforms include agreement in principle to establish a power for the Minister to amend regional coastal plans in exceptional circumstances where this is a matter of regional or national interest.

Heatley says the creation of a business unit within the Ministry of Fisheries recognises the importance of aquaculture to New Zealand’s future economic development. “We will be working hard to help ensure aquaculture delivers on its potential for the benefit of all New Zealanders,” he says. At one level the New Zealand aquaculture sector suggests it is well positioned to capitalise on this potential growth through expansion and development of new markets. Paua aquaculture is continuing to expand, if slowly, while interest in other species including finfish, rock lobster and dredge oyster is growing.

“not in my back yard mate.” However, on another level, people out on the water say the recently announced repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, with Maori potentially being able to control the development of some areas, and the good old New Zealand NIMBY (not in my back yard) syndrome may continue to slow expansion in many areas and stymie it in others. grill asked Callum McCallum, who has for 25 years been the director and co-owner of Clevedon Coast Oysters, for the industry’s perspective. He is a past chairman of the New Zealand Aquaculture Council, the New Zealand Oyster Association and a member of SEAFIC (Seafood Industry Council). “Firstly, I would have to say the product to the domestic market has improved a lot over the past few years. The days of chucking the rejects out to the local market is long gone, I’m glad to say. The product your readers get should

be at least as good as anything we export – just think how the green shell are now, the quality is as good as anything sent overseas. Another good example is Regal [New Zealand King Salmon] – they are a top firm and all their work has paid off. They are good farmers and it shows in the quality of the fish. There are a lot of new things happening – for example, it looks as if paua is moving ahead.” Improving and maintaining water quality in growing areas in rural and coastal environments must be a primary concern for the industry, says McCallum. “Inshore, this is probably the biggest issue. A lot of future marine farming will have to move to sites further off the coast. A typical example is in the Bay of Islands. We, the industry, have to pay the water monitoring and compliance costs for the water the public bodies are responsible for – crazy. “Also with the repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act we do not know at this stage what the ramifications may be. Will we have to consult with local Maori, or does this mean that it will be impossible for any new or expanded aquaculture development except as a joint venture or some such with local Iwi?” Hopefully, our hospitality industry can look forward to a larger and more accessible range of aquaculture products from our innovative marine farmers. But what can chefs expect to put on the plate right now and in the future to tickle the taste buds of diners? Go to to find out. And to learn about innovative aquaculture in Canterbury, Marlborough and Nelson, take a look at the Regional Fare feature on pages 14 to 24 in this issue.

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Dry goods grill’s specialist resource writer John Clarke updates developments in produce, fish and meat supply each issue. The products and or companies mentioned in this column are there because we at grill believe they are of quality and have value to the industry.



Muttonbir ds, truffl es. Plenty winter fr of uit: tama rillos, pe lemons a rsimmon nd mand s, arins. Ya parsnip, ms, chok nice main os, crop spu Brussel sp ds, and routs. Ka hawai, p Northern iper and Bluefin tu na, Cleve oysters a don nd best o f all – Blu And, of co ff oysters urse, tha . t rhubarb .



Our aprico ts, nectari nes and p New Zeala eaches. nd strawb erries and fruit. New passion Zealand g rown bea tomatoes ns and .

Grain/flour Chances are our local flours will be a little harder this year, which is no bad thing. The best New Zealand stone ground organic flour (in any real quantity anyway), is from New Zealand Bio Grains and should be something to look forward to this year. Chantal has a great selection of organic flours from offshore. Kinaki (Wild New Zealand herbs and seasonings.) Both horopito and dried kawakawa leaves are available through Pacific Harvest in Auckland. Try the fresh version but just make sure that whoever does the gathering knows what they are doing. New Zealand sea vegetables, dried karengo – sometimes called parengo which is very similar to nori, and kelp – similar to kombu, can be sourced through Pacific Harvest. You can gather and dry these seaweeds yourself if you know what you are looking for, or check with the local Tangata Whenua. Did you know Greg Heffernan is the sole importer of all the Maldon Salt we use in this country? He also imports a very good organic pepper. He can be contacted at Zest in Taupo – zestcafe@xtra. Wild fungi All the good dries distributors/ suppliers will have a selection of dried fungi products from overseas but check the labels. Quite often, taking porcini for example, the front label says ‘porcini’ all right but when you check the tiny print on the back you see a number of Latin names. Many products labelled porcini that come into the country are bulked up

Sous Chef . 09 269 6373 . 1/84 Spar tan Road . Takanini, Auckland

with the lesser boletes so check carefully. For true porcini there should be only one name – Boletus edulis. Anything else on the label, or more than one Latin name, and it is an inferior product and certainly not exclusively cepe. This may be okay if it is cheap enough and it suits your purpose. Look for dried porcini powder; bloody handy as a booster. Sous Chef has a great range of dries from Menu and Igor including a top Arborio rice at a reasonable price and a range of Saparoso balsamic. A good gluten-free pasta option you can offer coeliac diners and those avoiding gluten is the Coronilla range of organic dries, made from rice and quinoa flours. This produces a palatable pasta getting close to the real thing. Rabitos Royale Fig Bonbons from south-western Spain are truffle-stuffed figs filled with a mousse made of dark chocolate and a hint of brandy then hand dipped in even more dark chocolate. An inspired juxtaposition of flavours and available from Sous Chef.

Dairy The array and quality of New Zealand cheeses is fantastic as I found out at this year’s Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards. Go to our website to see the full story, the full list of winners and a great little cheese company near you. You can also check out The Produce Company website with 150 mainly local artisan cheeses listed.


Market intelligence

EGGS Battery Whatever, this sad excuse for an industry still produces the cheapest egg, so if you are happy to use them, go for it. They are ubiquitous and they taste like fish to me, but millions are sold every day, so I guess… Duck eggs are slowing down and as they do not travel well you will have to find a local supplier. Some farmers markets will have them. Free range and organic egg production is now an industry in its own right; seasonal supply has levelled out and they are consistently available. They are more expensive, but if you want quality you have to pay for it. The Frenz organic free range egg is the best widely available egg for my money. Quail eggs are available all year from Canter Valley farms in North Canterbury. They can send them to you anywhere in the country and quickly too.

POULTRY Chicken Factory chook seems to still appeal to many punters and it is the most economic option. Good organic free range chicken is something seriously special and some of the best are the organically farmed free range chickens and chicken portions from Rolling Hills. Duck Although there is a lot more duck around these days, the line from Canter Valley is still one of the best around and available now countrywide. Check out their website at for the full wholesale list – you will be pleasantly surprised at the range and prices. Poussin is becoming more and more

available, but for some reason the cost has been edging up over the past year. If by the time you read this you are not too late for Matariki, get poussin in (because we aren’t allowed kereru) and use miro to give some sort of approximation (see Miro in the FRUIT section). Squab Not any more damn it. Turkey If you haven’t already got your birds for that northern hemisphere style mid-winter thing that people want to do these days you could get hold of Crozier’s Turkeys. Philip ‘The Turkey Man’ Crozier has been supplying the market for 45 years and they are still out there. These are genuine free range turkeys and are processed without being pumped full of additives. Or you could do a lot worse than getting hold of Canter Valley as they still have a good range of whole bone-in turkey roasts and portions.

FRUIT An expert panel on antibiotic resistance recommended that fruit and vegetables should be monitored for streptomycin residues. But, as far as I am aware, this has never happened. So do we know whether all farmers stop using the spray when they are supposed to, or whether antibiotic residues remain in fruit? Apples All the New Zealand seasonal apples are still good quality so we still don’t need any imported rubbish just yet. Avocados Lots of good quality well priced Haas fruit have been enjoyed by all. Watch the quality from now on.

varieties should have been shot to bits long ago. Due to one of the warmest autumns ever the raspberries from the Olde Berry Farm were available until the end of May. There will still be a few coming onto the market from one grower who has them under plastic but you will have to pay. There are also a few blueberries available at a price. Loganberries are always around and the last of the Keri berries are finishing too. Otherwise it’s frozen product, which is pretty good for most things anyway. Blackcurrants All over. Cherimoya Also known as the custard apple. Coming soon. Citrus New Zealand lemons will be around from now on. New Zealand mandarins are now. All other local citrus will start to come on towards the end of this period too. Feijoas The season should be in full swing again and there should be bucket loads and good prices, but there are not, it has been too dry in most of the growing areas. Still this is a very handy fruit over late autumn and winter. Grapes No New Zealand fruit. It is the tasteless black widow-infested stuff from offshore until late summer. Kiwis The main crop New Zealand fresh fruit has started, but it has been up and down a bit so far because of the big dry. Over summer and autumn when there is so much other good local fresh fruit around it seems odd to me that we have to have northern hemisphere kiwis. What is happening to the joys of seasonality? Mangoes Lots of good Kent mangoes – the green ones – about at the moment. Melons All varieties of New Zealand grown melon are finished, so if you must have them, it is the imported product for you.

Banana What can you say – they just keep coming in. Nothing like the real thing, but there you go. The few fresh sweet ones from Northland are well finished.

Miro Now is the time for that Matariki celebration. Stuff one or two up a poussin’s backside.

Berries Some strange things with the berries this year. Most of the berry

Passion fruit The season for this fruit is now well over for another year.

Canter Valley . 03 312 9805 . PO Box 293 . Rangiora


Market intelligence

PREPARED PRODUCE Pears There will be a pear or two about, but they are deteriorating from now on. The nashi hold on a little longer. Imports are starting though. Persimmons And another good winter fruit. They finish in July but are good keepers so they will be around for a while. Quince These wonderful things may still be ex-storage but it’s the same as for pears, except no imported fruit. Redcurrants are well over. Don’t you just love the seasons. Rhubarb is around all year but a fantastic fruit to have over winter. Stone fruit All over, sadly. Tamarillos See there is lots of fruit in winter. Tropical fruit All the tropical stuff is as usual and it’s up to you to demand quality. Some quite good paw paw coming out of the Philippines at present.

Artichokes (globe) are unavailable until spring, at least except for a few baby ones that should hit the suppliers at the end of August. The Jerusalem artichokes are here though and this is the time for this underutilised vegetable. Asparagus The season is done and dusted. The first of the new season’s will be along in September. You could, of course, buy imported from the USA or the frozen stuff from suppliers such as Penguin. Aubergines Bugger all local of quality, but all the odd ball imported colours are in. Beans The New Zealand season is well over. There was a little local expensive hothouse stuff in the market, but like so much from now on, if you want it, it is really going to be imported product. Beetroot The main season is finished but beetroot is still produced, if in lesser quantity, until November. Broccoli is good now, so long as the heads don’t get too wet.

NUTS Chestnuts coming to a place near you if you are one of the lucky ones. Hazels are still hard to come by and just starting. Once again Chantal have them or go to Macadamia The New Zealand season for fresh nuts is over. Wild walnuts are available from A Cracker of a Nut. Wild Hawke’s Bay nuts are often available from Chantal. All these nuts are getting older now. All other nuts are imported and it is up to you to demand quality.

VEGETABLES Traditionally it’s all the warming winter veges coming on.

Broccolini is still plentiful, but the heads I last saw were a little too open and, for the quality, a little dear. Brussels sprouts are at their best until August. Cabbage The green varieties are available all year as usual and the red is just about done, except for an expensive trickle. Capsicum Absolutely the worst time for capsicums. Almost all the New Zealand grown varieties have gone. There will be some locally grown hothouse (usually hydroponic, and at a price, but it is mostly Aussie and Island stuff now). Carrots are always available and are quite nice this time of year. Cauliflower is available all year and there were some very good heads at one market recently and they weren’t all caulis.

Celeriac is also nowadays available most of the year, and so it should be, and the quality is very good this season, if not the price. Celery is available all year and reasonable quality now. Chard (silver beet) You can get it all the time, but from now on it is the most economic and available vegetable. Choko This handy early-winter vegetable receives flavours very well. It will only be around, straight off the vine, until the beginning of July. But it keeps well so you will still be able to get it until mid-August or so. I don’t know why we do not see more of this about as it grows like a weed and it should always be cheap so make the best of it. Corn As I said there was good Kiwi corn in mid-April this year. We had the warmest autumn for years, (see raspberries) but it had to end. So unless for some reason you wish to use the expensive imported vacuum-packed stuff, play the seasons, or there is always the joy of frozen corn. Courgettes New Zealand zucchinis are finished so if you want it you will just have to pay for it from offshore. Cucumber The main time for fresh Kiwi short cucumbers has had it, but the telegraphs have come back in quantity, all hothouse of course. Fennel More Florence fennel is now available, with good quality and larger bulbs at this time of year. Garlic Some New Zealand garlic is around, but the imports are coming in now. Ginger There was some fairly scrappy stuff around, but I see it has come right. Supplies of ginger in this country are always sourced from offshore. Garnish Always available are the varieties of micro leaves and very cute if you go that way. Prepared Produce’s very cost-effective julienne salad garnish has become very popular in the Auckland

Prepared Produce . 09 276 6079 . 118 Savill Drive . Mangere East . Manukau City . Auckland 2024


Market intelligence

PREPARED PRODUCE arena. The sweet corn sprouts are still around and make an unusual garnish for the right dish. Herbs Prices for all the annuals are up and will stay up until the end of October at least. All the fresh herbs are available all year these days so it’s now only a matter of grievous bodily invoices if you go overboard. Have you seen the price of chervil lately? Kohlrabi is available all year now and is in pretty good nick at this time of year. Kumara All varieties of main season: Beauregard (orange, softer, sweet), Tokatoka (yellow, firm, good flavoured), Owairaka and Northern Rose (traditional red, very firm), appear not to be woody (which can sometimes be a problem as the year progresses), and still to be of good quality. Leeks are at their best. Mushrooms and fungi Ah well, all the wild stuff is just about over. There will be the occasional field bits around, but not much to speak of. Our commercially grown truffles should be available during this period. Bloody expensive, but fresh mature truffle is the reason for life. Too expensive? Check out the dries section of this column. All the other commercially grown mushrooms are available as usual. Onions Good supplies of Jumbos with a few New Zealand red onions around, so you may need to buy the Californian ones soon. Parsnip was history, now contemporary. Peas are history. Pikopiko is available all year now, especially good this time of year. Potatoes Lots of good quality main crop potatoes all over the place and plenty

of variety too. The (so called) Maori potato varieties are becoming more easily sourced as more and more growers are getting into them. You should get samples before you buy as there are about two dozen varieties out there. Each type has a different texture, taste and colour and some varieties are not long keepers. We have been getting some great quality peruperu in particular this autumn and they look like holding on through winter. The trick is they need to be kept in the dark and away from plastic. These old trad spuds are generally worth the trouble as they knock the socks off the more common commercial varieties. Earth Gems are pretty available, pretty expensive and pretty pretty. Pumpkin Main crop crown pumpkins and butternut are still out there, but quality is variable. Buttercup and Japanese squash are over till early summer.

Spring onions Always good supplies on the shelves. Swede and turnip If you like to use these vegetables, from now on is your time. Tomatoes New Zealand autumn crop is about over, but there will be some main crop New Zealand hothouse available from the end of August if we are lucky and rich. Mostly, however, it’s the stink imported stuff and that is all too damned expensive for the rubbish it is. Witloof This is one vegetable you need to use as it arrives as it can deteriorate fast unless stored very carefully. I am assured there is some out there waiting for some poor restaurateur who wants to increase his mortgage to serve this delicious vegetable to his diners. Yams Now we can have this great little vegetable for a few months.


Radishes Salad radishes are all in good supply and there is still good daikon about. Salad leaves – as always. Rocket is more expensive now. Nice crunchy icebergs in the markets. And on the note of rocket, it’s good to see real older leaves showing up and the silly marketing gurus are still using the name ‘Wild Italian Rocket’ for this product; hell’s teeth what next! Shallot Still some of this lovely little lady about. Snow peas are available from late spring to late autumn mainly. There are always the expensive few New Zealand grown ones and the expensive imports of course. Sorrel Not common, but there is more of this around than in the past and it grows all the time. Spinach It’s a fine time for this vegetable.

We are heading into the skinny time for most wild game. Birds Farmed quail and pheasant are in shorter supply and guinea-fowl are finished. Wild ducks The shooting season is coming to an end for some of these and we still cannot get them in restaurants. The same also applies to our pukeko, black swan, wild pheasant, and wild (Canada) geese at this time of year. Fish and Game New Zealand has the wild gamebird food festival on at selected restaurants throughout the country. During this festival each restaurant puts on a special wild game bird menu so that hunters can have their bagged birds cooked in a range of dishes. I checked out one of these restaurants, à Deco in Whangarei, and the scheme was going a bomb. The whole thing is a damn good idea, so let’s hope this year’s success is an incentive for expansion in the future.

Prepared Produce . 09 276 6079 . 118 Savill Drive . Mangere East . Manukau City . Auckland 2024


The muttonbird (Puffinus griseus), titi, harvesting season has just finished for this year so we will start seeing this delicacy now. The price keeps going up and so it should. This is the only native that can be harvested for sale. Somewhere around 250,000 a season, but no one seems to know for sure. Anyway the rats get a hell of a lot more. Some of the people in the far south set up a group with the cool name Kamate Nga Kiore (Death To The Rats) to get rid of this vermin on the Muttonbird Islands. It has not put more birds on the market, but it has given the birds and other fauna a better chance. Cervena Good quality at present, but schedules are continuing to increase so expect higher costs. As we close in on the game season prices with any luck will level out. Some of our suppliers are still complaining that product can be hard to find. Chamois This species manages to hold on to its condition better than some at this time of year, possibly because they don’t mate till later in winter. New Zealand is one of the very few places in the world where these animals are available and are worth the attention of the chef. This antelope should be farmed in this country. Crocodile (imported). A damn fine white meat. For supply see under kangaroo. Emu and ostrich meat is available for those who want it. Farmed wild boar Yes, there is really now such a thing. Free range boar bred from wild stock and legally reared on a farm in the Taupo region. At present only available in limited quantity from selected outlets but more coming on stream all the time from Neat Meat, The Produce Company and Harmony Foods and sold under the Razorback brand. Great eh! Goat Tends to be skinnier from now on, so choose only the fatter young animals. Hare Always remarkably well priced, but

Market intelligence

like most game they tend to lose condition from May onwards. Kangaroo (imported). A damn fine red meat. Available from Premium Game. Possum This tasty animal is so hard to get that road kill may seem the only option, and it is because the only supplier to the market has fallen over due to the ridiculous hoops one has to jump through to make these tasty pests into a saleable item in New Zealand. Rabbit It’s true as suggested in the last issue; rabbit numbers are on the increase. Try Premium Game in Marlborough – the only choice for wild rabbit really. Tahr is a wild mountain goat native to the Himalayas, now happily (barring DOC) at home in Godzone’s alps. This species is still in good condition until mid August. Sexually active animals really stink and this can seriously taint the meat. Venison Wild animals lose their condition from now on as the roar has knocked them around, hinds are in fawn and feed is tight over winter. Wallaby The annual Timaru wallaby hunt knocked over 1000 animals and there is plenty of frozen stuff around. New Zealand wild wallaby is available through some game packing houses.

PRESERVED MEATS Harmony Foods is now producing organic small goods, cured products, salamis, dry cured bacon and Black Forest ham. Prosciutto di Parma It is of course now possible to get prosciutto from Italy, so we do not have to put up with the inferior, greasy Aussie stuff. There is a New Zealand version of prosciutto that is better than anything I seen out of Aussie and bloody near as good as the original with something just a little bit Kiwi about it and is from the

Little Boys range originally designed and developed by chef Jeremy Schmid. The range also includes pancetta, chorizo, salamis and their quite-famous-inNew-Zealand gourmet sausages. Their sausages by the way are all gluten free. All this stuff is available through Zealfresh. Havoc produces a good ham, traditionally cured bacon and a fabulous range of sausages from free range pigs.


There are some very fine big cattle being killed at present, which makes for muchimproved flavours. Export prices should come under pressure in this period so do not expect any cost increases. Your local supply butcher or a reliable branded distributor is best; they know your requirements and you should know what you are getting. But it has come to my attention again that some so-called meat suppliers are claiming to sell the above brands, climbing on the back of the hard work that quality suppliers have done to put a decent reliably branded beef into the marketplace aimed at the hospitality sector. This must be bloody annoying for all concerned and chefs and restaurateurs need to be very aware of what they are buying; that it is the genuine product. Chefs need to ask questions like: where the animals were slaughtered; hot boned or cold boned; and where is the branded packaging. Chefs should be able to trust their suppliers and get what they ask for and not get bullshit! And chef, if someone tries it on you let us know at grill and we will follow it up. That’s what we are here for.

VEAL This is the time for real veal and Zealfresh, Harmony and Neat Meat have good lines

Fish & Game . 04 499-4767 . PO Box 13-141, Wellington 6440 .



Market intelligence

of supply. I have tried these products and, yes, they are all top quality veal.

SHEEPMEAT Hogget is no longer an age grade, however if you want hogget speak to your supplier; if he is any good he will supply what you want. Lamb It still looks as if heavy lamb is the best deal, but it is all bloody expensive. In the market at present the messages are very mixed with big variations between light and heavy lambs, but at whatever size the high dollar cuts are still bloody high. There is, however, real value in the lower braising cuts, boneless rumps, legs, shoulders etc. When we did our lamb taste test we did not get hold of the branded Hawke’s Bay Natural lamb. Well, we cooked up some of this lamb a couple of weeks ago and it was at least equal to the best in the taste test in my humble opinion – available from Zealfresh. Mutton The best for me are two-tooth and four-tooth wethers (your supplier should understand this language), and any time is a good time for flavoursome mutton from fat healthy animals, but don’t expect too much; quality is often down as farmers drop stock because they lack feed on the farm. ORK P Some say the Australian pork we are getting is of better quality than ours, as it generally has a higher pH. Pork with a higher pH is considered to have a much better flavour profile (this is the opposite in beef by the way). New Zealand imports about 10,000 tonnes of pork from Australia where about 30 percent of pig farmers use the growth hormone PST. That means if you eat Australian pork there is a one in three chance it will have been injected with PST. And did you know that Aussie

male pigs are routinely chemically castrated? Is this drug in this imported pork? Who knows? But one pork producer in this country tells me that “women are not allowed to jab them and men who accidentally jab themselves twice are out of action for years”. Murrellen has a good quality control system in place for this problem and not just a few chefs favour this product. Harmony Foods processes and sells very good free range pigs, as does Havoc in south Canterbury. Their pigs are stress free and free range and damn near organic. Whole piglet is still available if you want it, costly though.

FISH AND SEAFOOD SALTWATER FISH Frozen Convenient and economical and you get what you get. Fresh Albacore The season for this underrated fish is done and dusted.

Blue Moki The season for this beautiful fish will have started by the time you receive this issue. Bluenose is a bloody good replacement for the bloody good hapuku and all year round as well. Still in fairly short supply in the local market, but it has picked up a little and I’ve seen quite a bit of frozen bluenose available. I guess it must be convenient in easy-care kitchens or something. But most still goes to Aussie as usual. Dory (black and smooth, mirror, in other words all deep sea Oreo Dory family) are available throughout the year from off the southern east coast. These are often quite good buying, and are worthy of attention. The fillets are small and quite thin, but quite perfect for single servings. Flounder The autumn flounder season is over and numbers will be tighter from now till late spring. Green bone. A terrible name for a wonderful fish. The season is finished. Groper (Hapuku) This is still a bloody good time for hapuku and always bloody expensive all the time.

Alfonsino Fresh alfonsino is in the markets these days. Anchovy New Zealand has bulk anchovies swimming around it, but they all go for bait as companies say no one is willing to pay for them. Maybe not for much longer, I have someone working on it. Antarctic Toothfish This is a summer species only and NOT PC. Blue cod Now that the albacore season is over many of these fisherman are working the blue cod fishery so the Auckland market may even see some if you guys down south relax your exclusive claim to it. Blue cod has beautifully flavoured if delicate white flesh. The best fish come from the furthest south for my money.

Gurnard Always available and there are usually some small ones in the market and at a mere two bucks (yes $2) a kilo. Lovely fish you can’t afford to ignore. Hake Quite lovely eating if treated gently. The short fresh season for this delicate fish starts in July. Hoki This is our largest commercial fishery and June sees the beginning of the annual hoki harvest. So if for some reason you happen to be hanging out for a fresh piece of hoki this is your opportunity. John Dory The short full-on time for this iconic fish is well over, but there will always be a little available at a price.

Zealfresh . 09 419 9165 . Unit 2, 84-90 Hillside Road,Wairau Valley, Nor th Shore


Market intelligence

Kahawai Still a good time for those big kahawai, and I stick by my guns; as good at least as any other fish in the sea.

Sharks Still a good time for doggies (rig, spotted dogfish etc) and school sharks, and they are all great eating.

Kingfish This is one of our best fish, especially for sashimi. It is damn hard to find as there is never enough quota.

Skate Still waiting for those recipes, please.

Ling The fresh season for ling starts in June and will run till November. The frozen and smoked product is available. Monkfish (stargazer) I cannot give this fish enough raps and nor can New World. It seems New World once thought it so good in fact that they wanted their red cod to be the same thing. Mullet Less of this beautiful fatty fish for a while, but there’s always a few and at a great price. Orange roughy The fresh roughy season is August to October. So don’t worry you people who think it’s a great fish; they will soon be scraping the sea floor clean of everything that lives and you will be able to eat some of these 125-year-old fish fresh; yum yum. Piper This is the best time for this forgotten delectable little fish. Rays Cut the wings off and dry them. You could use the cartilage as an alternative to shark fin as the practice of cutting the fins off sharks and junking the rest is supposed to be banned in New Zealand waters. Red cod Must have mothers so someone can love them. If you come across English or British cod it is just another alias for this cray-pot bait. Salmon, quinnat (sea cage) Plenty available and all three producers have good quality fish. Sardines You can order direct at Salty Dog Seafoods (0-9-433 7002). Can be supplied fresh or snap-frozen free-flow and you can designate the size.

Skipjack tuna There are no skippies for a while sadly. Our industry needs to take a closer look at this little tuna. Snapper The season has past its peak but there will always be a good supply about and still the small plate size fish are the best price. Sole The major catch is over and from now on it will be by-catch stuff. Supply is still restricted in the North Island as this is mainly a southern fish, but it is a much underutilised, premium fish at a relatively low price. Spotted gurnard Inexpensive and not a bad option. Tarakihi The main season is about finished, but there will be some around as always. And there is the eternal frozen product, usually as ‘skin on’ fillets, and skinned and boned fillets, all in 10kg cartons and handy as back up. Trevalley This fantastic common fish is usually well priced. The main season is over so there is less in the market. But by the same token at the moment this fish is of markedly better quality as trevalley at this time of year are caught using ring nets around inshore reefs. Fresher, less squashed and tastier. Tuna This is the season for the northern bluefin tuna. This tuna has a far higher fat content than other tuna so get into ’em. The southern tuna season is over. Turbot and brill come from the west coast of the South Island and have always been a specialty in the area, but now a few of these wonderful large flatfish are turning up in our other fresh fish markets.

Moana Pacific Fisheries . 09 302 4027 . 138 Halsey Street, Auckland


Warehou This is another southern species. The main season is starting soon and the price is always reasonable.

FRESH WATER FISH Eel, longfin and shortfin The fresh season is all year in the North Island. South Island eels start again in August. Smoked eel is always obtainable. The state of our eel fishery is becoming a disgrace, especially in the South Island. Salmon, sockeye can no longer be obtained from Mount Cook Salmon as they have stopped farming this smaller Pacific salmon. Salmon, organic sockeye If you have trouble sourcing this fish it is available direct from New Zealand Clearwater Crayfish near Blenheim – sometimes. Salmon, quinnat Some good fish available and the fish are a little larger. Whitebait The various seasons are well over but not long to wait. Don’t the seasons just roll around? More fresh stuff in mid-August guys.

SHELLFISH Bluff oysters Yep, you can get them now kiddies. Clams Restaurants will find the Golden Bay variety of cockle (littleneck) still okay, and the southern version always in good supply. For my money northern cockles are still the premium shellfish. Clevedon oysters always good, but are now coming to their very best. Kina Just the thing for that something extra in a sauce. Available live from Auckland Fish Markets’ new giant tanks. Kiwi surf clams (tough shell) and Pacific surf clams (triangle shell) You can


Market intelligence

always get these very big (for New Zealand anyway) shellfish, but be aware that the meat-to-shell ratio is not as good as most other shellfish. Mussel (Horse) I have noticed a few of these giants turning up in the market of late. You may hear the name ‘Chinese scallops’, well this is what they are talking about. Mussel (New Zealand Greenshell) This is our endemic mussel and a very fine thing it is too. We see so many now that we tend to take them for granted – well don’t. It also has a very high meat-to-shell ratio, higher than any other. It is always available live in the shell and fresh or frozen on the half shell. Mussel meat is still cool for bulking up that chowder. Nelson Bay oysters You should be able to get them as you want them now.

live bivalve shellfish on delivery. Tuatua (inshore) I feel these have the best flavour. As mentioned previously these are getting harder to source as inshore pickers are having a hard time of it at present due to compliance costs and the water is bloody cold too.

CRUSTACEANS Bugs Your imported seafood supplier should have these and they can be a good economic option. Crabs As explained in the last issue, quota for this tasty deep water crab has just been allocated. Problem is right now it appears no one is that keen to go out and get them. But hopefully by the time you read this there will be a trickle on the market and hopefully soon turning to a flood.

New Zealand scallops Fresh are back. Octopus When it’s fresh it’s tasty, and brainy enough to wander off on its own. Pacific oysters are on the improve and will be fattest from June and supplies of this shellfish should be good and the price reasonable. Paua (farmed) These little versions of the wild paua are available and getting bigger and better priced all the time. Paua (wild) This is the seabed and foreshore packaged in a shell. Use it all year if you have the cash. Do not buy contraband paua!

The best part of the paddle crab season is supposed to run until June. This season it appears the crab season slowed right down at the end of April. Still a top crab is a live crab; however for convenience New Zealand crabmeat is available from Foodchain in Auckland. A cheaper lesser quality frozen imported crabmeat (usually from Vietnam) is also available. Crayfish Not the best time for fresh crays. Cost has not been too bad until now, but the big catches are well done. The main season starts again shortly. Koura (farmed organic) The season is effectively over. No more for a couple of months.

Pipi Very, very good eating, though usually only in local markets. Queen scallops These are a deep water type and can be sourced all year; however they are usually only available frozen. Squid The main season for our squid finished in May, but you can always get frozen.

New Zealand prawn are available from the hot water prawn farm at Wairakei near Taupo or Solander in Nelson. They have a more delicate flavour than other prawns and are definitely worth a shot. Imported prawn Ideally the only good prawn is a fresh one.

Tuatua (deep water) Yes, you can get them now and forever. It is important to swim these and all other sand-gathered

New Zealand scampi Always expensive and always exquisite, but there are some better deals at the time of writing for some reason.

Scampi imported (frozen) Cheaper, larger and coarser and do not look half as good on the plate.

grill magazine would like to thank our sponsors for their financial support and unbiased help in the intelligence gathering without which this column would not be possible. Zealfresh; Moana Pacific Fisheries; Prepared Produce; Canter Valley Farm; Sous Chef and Fish & Game NZ. We also wish acknowledge the following for their support in the collecting of impartial information used in the collation of this column. The Produce Company; Wilson Hellaby; Harmony Foods; Neat Meat.

we erred... Terrace Edge Extra Virgin Olive Oil In the last issue of grill, in the Taste feature on extra virgin olive oil, we said that the sample of the oil named below was oxidised and therefore unable to be judged. This was incorrect and grill apologises to Terrace Edge for any distress this has caused.

Terrace Edge, Tuscan Blend 2008, Waipara This oil has subsequently been tasted twice – from both the original sample and from another sample from the same harvest and found to be NOT rancid and in fact to be very good oil. Should our readers wish to procure an EVOO we can highly recommend this oil.

Moana Pacific Fisheries . 09 302 4027 . 138 Halsey Street, Auckland




Photos: Premium Game

Game – are you? John Clarke has been hunting wild animals and cooking them for guests since he was 14 and a lifetime of knowledge and experience fires his passion for wild game. Clarke takes us for a walk on the wild side and ponders why most Kiwi chefs are not up for it.

All game meats that you put on a menu must go through a processor with a valid Risk Management Programme; this is the law. You can order direct with one such as Premium Game in Marlborough (the best for my money), or a good supplier such as Zealfresh in Auckland.

Top and bottom: A successful hunt for Mark Gibbs.


o most chefs in this country bother with game – hardly! The fact that the country is damn near overrun by game (DOC would say pests), that it is not tough, has great flavour and texture and is available, doesn’t seem to wash with New Zealand chefs. So are we all too bloody lazy or complacent with our abundance of fine farmed meat? And what about the big rah rah about organic when the largest, most easily accessed resource is all over the place, wild and effectively organic. New Zealand may have no native wild land mammals, but with the advent of European settlement a steady stream of animals was introduced, starting with Cook’s visits in the 1770s and continuing until this day. Many were deliberately released into the wild and domestic livestock also escaped into the more inaccessible country in the earlier days when good fencing was not widespread. A number of other species were liberated to satisfy the hunting urge

and to make Godzone a little more like Merrie Olde England. Other smaller species were introduced for the fur trade, while some were released for no particular reason other than stupidity. Be that as it may, they are delicious and running around on them there hills. Our big game There are seven species of wild deer (Cervidae) in this country, plus one very unlikely possibility (the moose)? RED DEER is our most widespread and common species and arrived in New Zealand in 1851 as a gift from Lord Petre of Thorndon Park in Essex. The bulk of the venison we eat, both farmed and wild, will be from reds. FALLOW DEER are our next most common species; these arrived here in the 1860s, can be found in many regions and are a small deer rarely above 70kgs. Fallow is a lighter and less Wild boar from Marlborough Sounds.


gamey meat than red and juicier due to the slightly higher fat content. SAMBAR DEER is our second largest deer (up to 250kg) and all are descendants of two imported from Ceylon in 1875 and liberated in the Rangitikei. The meat is similar to red and excellent if you can get it. SIKA DEER were liberated in 1880 in the Kaimanawa Ranges and are the ancestors of our sika population today. Although smaller (a good stag is 80kg), sika readily mates with red deer and there are a number of hybrids about. I consider sika, along with whitetail, the premium venison available as it has a silky, close texture giving it a luxurious dimension. MOOSE first arrived in 1889 and after a short stay in Wellington two bulls and two cows were shipped to Hokitika on the West Coast and liberated. Are there still moose in Fiordland? Not bloody likely! RUSA are slightly smaller than reds

(stags can get to 150kg, but usually weigh about 110kg), and are closely related to sambar. Originally from the Indonesian islands, our Rusa were introduced into New Zealand in 1907 from New Caledonia. Rusa rarely turns up in game-packing houses and if it does, chances are it’s from one of the (so-called) game estates and shot by some rich (so-called) hunter who only wanted the head for his wall. WAPITI (Elk) arrived in 1909 as part of a deal between one T.E Donne, the general manager of the Tourist Department, and US president Theodore Roosevelt. Effectively the wapiti is a variant of the red deer (it is a hell of a lot bigger, up to 400kg) and not an elk, which hunting guides (and most Americans) insist on calling it. The flesh will be from safari parks and similar to a red’s though obviously the cuts are larger. WHITETAIL DEER were released on Stewart Island, at Glenorchy at the head of Lake Wakatipu and in Nelson in 1890. Both southern herds flourished

Hunter and hunted.


and provide good hunting today. There seems to be no survivors of the liberation in Nelson. Though quite small, (bucks are 100-130kgs), the whitetail is the most graceful of our deer and perhaps the best eating. CERVENA or farmed deer meat is the most obvious game we think of when designing a menu. Chuck a cervena dish on; simple, easy, accessible, tenderness guaranteed and bloody near tasteless, (indefinable anyway). Actually I have no problem with farmed venison having farmed it for years and it’s a damn fine meat. But as Craig Luxton from Zealfresh, which supplies both cervena and wild game, says: “It is also important to distinguish between farmed and wild product as they have different characteristics.” Cervena will be featured in the Red Report in a later edition of grill. FERAL CATTLE (Bos var) are still reported in remote parts of the country. The best way to muster the beasts is a Top and bottom: Surveying the territory.



bullet, a knife, a good pack horse and an empty freezer. However, if you can get it, the meat has a fine flavour and texture, obviously beef, but definitely more interesting and somewhat gamey. CHAMOIS (Rupicapra rupicapra) arrived here on board the Turakino in 1907 as a gift from Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. Eleven were liberated in the Mount Cook area and have since pretty well colonised the whole of the alpine and sub-alpine regions of the South Island. The chamois is not exactly a giant – a good buck can weigh up to 50kg – but it is one of the best eating. The flesh is a dark teak colour, slightly sweet and rich flavoured giving a taste like no other species in New Zealand. TAHR (Hemitragus jemlahicus) are from the Himalayan Mountains and this magnificent beardless mountain goat is well established in the Southern Alps. Tahr were liberated in 1904 and 1909 at Mount Cook very successfully (many would say too successfully), but DOC vigorously controls numbers and distribution and arranges regular massacres. A mature bull tahr is a majestic beast and may weight up to

Above: A load of deer carcasses.

100kg, with an aroma that can only be attractive to the much smaller nanny. Good tahr meat has complex goaty flavour and great texture. Allen Spencer from Premium Game is a great fan of tahr meat: “Tahr is about my favourite game meat and I believe sadly underutilised in this country.” FERAL GOAT (Capra hircus) roam the country eating everything that may have had a passing relationship to vegetation. Young goat is well-priced, delicious and would enhance any menu. FERAL SHEEP (Ovis var) strains all appear to be descended from Spanish merino or Bengal strains. The meat is fine-grained, sweet and lean, with a slight ‘gamey’ flavour and should be treated in the same way as other game. WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa) Good wild pork is a glorious thing; bad wild pork is a bloody shocker. Only the best cuts or the young can be used for anything other than exchange methods. Captain Cook is credited with introducing the pig, into New Zealand. Our small game

It is our small animals that come from true wild stock.

Goat stalking.

The marsupials We have two in this country, one red meat and one white. Both are great eating. WALLABIES (the red meat) were first introduced in the 1870s. Wallaby meat has a light burgundy colour, is fairly tender with a subtle flavour, is very low in cholesterol and very low in fat (two percent), so is perfect for health nutters. It has a mild game flavour. The Australian OPOSSUM (Trichosurus vulpecula) is the white meat marsupial and was first liberated at Riverton, Southland, in 1858 with the idea of starting a skin trade. Possums are a pain in the ass as they destroy our flora and fauna and are the worst carriers of bovine TB in the country. For all that, if you know what you are doing, they are fantastic eating. The rabbit family, lagomorphs We have two small game animals from Europe from the rabbit family and again one red and one white meat. HARE (Lepus europaeus) were first liberated in 1851 in Canterbury to provide sport for the nouveau-gentry. Hares are now widely distributed throughout the North and South Islands. A good-sized hare can be four kilos and is the best of all red meats; a dark mahogany colour with a smell and flavour redolent of earth and umami, a brilliant texture and a long, satisfying, almost dry finish; like a good burgundy with the balls of a Bordeaux. Treat hares like any big game (they really must be hung) but unlike most game it is the forequarters of both hares and rabbits that are the tender bits. RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) were first introduced in 1838 for sport and food, but perhaps also to reproduce something of the British countryside in New Zealand. The wild rabbit grows to a maximum of two kilos, and is a piece of piss to prepare as it doesn’t need to be hung and is a wonderful flavoursome meat. For the full story on game – how it got here, where you find it, how to treat it, and other factors that affect game meats – go to and click “Tricks of the game”.



FRANKLY CABERNET A Red Report wine special.


ordeaux was always going to be an important source of grape varieties for New Zealand’s fine wine business, especially once James Busby had spent a vintage in the region to learn about wine before emigrating south with his family and becoming New Zealand’s first vigneron. So it was no surprise that the first great reds to come from New Zealand vineyards would be Bordeauxstyle, based on cabernet sauvignon/ merlot/cabernet franc blends. In short, New Zealand became a new horizon for claret lovers. It still is, with British wine media recently lauding the quality of Hawkes Bay-grown claret styles as at least the equal of New Zealand’s much-vaunted pinot noirs. The great wines of Te Mata Estate, Stonyridge, Goldwater, and Ngatarawa have never been ranked below the highest level and have been joined more recently by those of Trinity Hill, Craggy Range and Puriri Hills. Without question their reputation depends on cabernet sauvignon, but amongst the best there is an element of cabernet franc that contributes significantly to the final touch of elegance that the best claret inevitably reflects. Cabernet franc is but a small proportion of the great Bordeaux reds, the Châteaux-produced wines that dominate the world’s fine wine business. These small but perfectly formed berries are inevitably crucial components of assemblage, the final craft of master winemakers responsible for these, and New Zealand’s, great clarets. It is worth noting that amongst the front rank of Bordeaux red wines, all but Châteaux Pétrus have important measures of cabernet franc, and the

By Keith Stewart

great Cheval Blanc boasts a majority of this variety. Only Château Margaux has a mere nod in the direction of this fragrant cabernet, just 3%, perhaps because cabernet sauvignon grown on this property has a strikingly un-sauvignon fragrance about it in most vintages. Château Ausone, St Émilion’s other great wine alongside Cheval Blanc, has as much as 45%. What cabernet franc appears to give to all of these wines, as well as other, slightly lesser versions from other estates, is a slender elegance in support of its obvious fragrance. Where cabernet sauvignon is strong and muscular, with a spine of steel and attention-grabbing bite, and merlot is voluptuous, oozing rich warmth, cabernet franc is svelte, lithe as a dancer, expressively sensual, rather than blatantly seductive. All of which makes it the perfect foil for game, and it has been said by gourmands with vastly more financial clout than me, that 25-year-old Cheval Blanc is the perfect accompaniment for saddle of hare. If that is the case, it does explain why 15-year-old Coleraine does the job so well with pheasant, and older vintages of Stonyridge make perfect company for red game meats. Waiheke’s Stonyridge, for a while favouring high proportions of malbec in its blend, has recently returned to more cabernet franc, a move that has restored the graceful lines it was once noted for. Given that game is the food of kings, don’t mess around with cheap and cheerfully fat wines from the Australian hinterland, go for the elegant finesse of one of New Zealand’s finest and experience the poetry in cabernet franc. Stonyridge owner Steve White and the faithful Norton, RIP - and Norton's label; Stonyridge's entrylevel cabernet based wine.


GAME taste

Game An introductory tasting



Photos: Sarah Habershon

he idea of ‘horrible, tough, smelly game’ is a phenomenon of modern times – the age of wimps. Precious contemporary diners are all “ooooo, I can’t get my head around eating bambi, they’re soooo cute”. But the same person will eat a tasteless, texture-less, miserable 32-day-old broiler chick. This prevailing idiotic attitude has been further encouraged by modern Kiwi chefs and restaurateurs taking the simple route, with the belief that you give the market what it thinks it wants. Perhaps most chefs do not have the skill and the balls to prepare game correctly. However, some of our very best chefs and restaurants are doing great things with game and the diners are enjoying the point of difference. This appreciation may also have something to do with the fact that organic is the flavour of the month and our wild ani-

mals are as close to organic as can be. Perhaps it is just that some Kiwis are finally becoming more sophisticated, who knows? Two things are for sure – this country has some of the best and most varied wild species animals around and wild food will be the next big food fad. To this end, the following is a brief introduction to the taste of our wild furry friends. THE TASTING The goal of this tasting was to examine the different textures and flavours available in some of the meats from the furred game available in this country. Meats were pan seared, medium rare, rested and tasted unseasoned. The panel • Sarah Habershon, grill journalist and photographer, who was along for the ride.

• John Clarke, grill resource editor, chef and game nut. The rest of the Waiheke contingent was made up by the chefs of two restaurants involved in the Regional Fare campaign and TONZA. • Justin Scheihing, executive chef at the Brooklyn Bar in Auckland for three years, who has recently taken over the kitchen at Casita Mira vineyard on Waiheke. • Tony Moss, who is back at the helm at Stonyridge. Red deer – fillet: Dark mahogany red. The entire panel noted a good strong game and iron character. Two commented on the earthy forest floor nose and flavour and two picked up a slight pine tone. The consensus was that this sample was most representative of their expectation of game and very satisfying with a long finish. grill would like to thank Premium Game for supplying the bulk of the game meats tasted; you are still the best guys! grill also thanks Zealfresh for acting as a collection centre and Stonyridge for the use of its kitchen.

GAME taste

Fallow deer – loin: All noted the sweet earthy tone of this lighter coloured venison. Comments on flavour were: metallic and clay/earth, with slightly chewy and springy texture, but short in the palate. This sample was much more interesting at room temperature. Tahr – loin: Similar to red deer on the nose, moist, subtle and sweet with a complex mid palate and a very good long finish with delicate hay-like notes. A very enjoyable experience for all. Hare – loin: Deep red and strong iron on the nose. Rich, deep beetroot/soil and liver notes with a beautiful texture and big mouth feel from fat through dry to juicy. One taster noted lime and walnut characters in the taste. Hare – back leg: More subtle than the loin with flavours reminiscent of bone marrow and raw mushroom. Texture was firmer as the muscle groups are smaller and tighter.

Boar – loin: Slightly grassy aroma; firm and juicy, buttery and slightly acid with an almost smoky long back palate. One taster suggested this was more textured than flavoursome. Generally soothing and mild. Chamois – backstrap: The flesh is a dark teak colour, slightly sweet and full rich flavoured, unlike any other species tasted. The texture is different – fine, small rounded muscle bundles; great bite and mouth feel with a good long gamey finish. Kangaroo – loin: From Aus, this is available so we thought we would try it. This meat was a deep red colour and surprisingly un-gamey. All agreed that it most closely resembled older beef. Wallaby – loin: Nice red hue, deep and sweet on the nose, light tasty sweet flesh and ‘fall apart’ tender. Rabbit – loin: Damp hay-like notes on the nose. Comments were: porkish-


chickenish, bland and slightly acidic and generally unremarkable and a little sweet on the end palate. Rabbit – back leg: Grassy, herby nose, juicy and sweet and a lovely popping of muscle tissue in the mouth. This cut had a more interesting flavour profile than the loin, with two of the panel remarking on a vanilla tone and a pleasant finish. Two processed game meats were also tasted. Wild smoked venison bacon: All agreed this was a fine product with a complex taste profile. Dark and sweet with a deep meaty venison flavour with blackcurrant notes and a lovely sweet and salty balance; the find of the tasting. Wild pork bacon: It was agreed this is what bacon should taste like. Definably pig, nice smoke with honey and soy notes.


WINE taste

Sauvignon for our reputation’s sake grill tastes our top savvies.


ew Zealand, at least in its own imagination, is the world capital of sauvignon blanc: simply, we put more of it onto the international marketplace than any other wineproducing country, and Marlborough has become the universal brand of loud, fresh and stroppy white wine under the sauvignon name. But as arresting as the classic stainless steel Kiwi savvie is, and for all its popularity, it hardly commands a handsome presence on the international fine wine market. So what do we do as restaurateurs seeking to offer the best local produce when it comes to sauvignon blanc? Well, luckily there are a few – a very few given the amount of ordinary swill-it-down savvie we produce – who have applied their not inconsiderable skills to crafting sophisticated wine worthy of New Zealand’s claimed leadership with the variety. We tried a few, with Ben Dugdale and Keith Stewart tasting a range chosen after asking a few top restaurateurs and winemakers for their opinions of the best sauvignon blanc made with an eye to cosmopolitan wine tastes. Here they are, with our panel’s comments. THE ELITE FEW The following wines stood out for their individuality, their characters and not least for the great wine craft

fat palate that has silky moments and some mineral firmness. Detailed, rich and suave. Wonderful wine begging for a butter sautéed filet of John Dory.

they each revealed. It is too early to say if these wines are starting to show elements of a distinctly regional terroir, but there is at least some evidence that terroir in a New Zealand sense is beginning to grow. What is most certain about these wines is that they defy simplistic codification; just accept that all are of equal quality, with variables according to the individual perceptions of each taster who comes across them. They all deserve to be found on wine lists of serious restaurants that pride themselves on the full range of professional skills they display in their menus and service. grill can confidently predict that within this group will be the classics of New Zealand sauvignon blanc that will define our future reputation in the field of fine white wine in general, and sauvignon blanc in particular.

HUIA 2009 SAUVIGNON BLANC Marlborough • Screw Cap Superbly delicate wine with quite lovely detail, it is atypical of Marlborough sauvignon blanc’s usual loud and pushy manner. From the mineral firmness of its nose to the flinty minerality that underpins its palate, this is a wine that begs pride of place on the wine list of a restaurant specialising in fresh local fish. Richly layered spice and fruit notes throughout, with hints of feijoa and a lasting memory of tree-ripened Granny Smith apples on its finely tapered finish.

RIVER FARM 2009 SAINT MAUR SAUVIGNON BLANC Marlborough • Screw Cap Simply stunning wine craft that managed to perfectly balance the numerous ingredients of wild yeast, intense fruit, lees texture and oak. Hints of rose fragrant on the nose, with a spicy flicker of wild yeast leading to a

ESPRIT WINES 2009 METIS Hawkes Bay • Screw Cap This wine is full of grass and wild cheese-like appeal, sophisticated, minerally; it sparks dreams of fresh shellfish and crusty bread. Excellent weight and plenty of interesting character with a crisp manner and fine flavours.

SOURCE BITE Chemical analyses shows that sauvignon blanc from Marlborough has more methoxypyrazine and thiol compounds. Consumer studies show that New Zealanders prefer Marlborough-style sauvignon blanc

MAHI 2008 BALLOT BLOCK SAUVIGNON BLANC Marlborough • Screw Cap Wow. From the first sniff of delicate, fragrant nutmeg spiced oak this curiously lovely wine enchants every particle of taste, but never loses a certain zesty liveliness that ultimately becomes its defining feature. Fruit notes at its heart are tropical flavours with ripe red capsicum, but it is much more than this as silky textures lift details and a very fine balance of structural components that support a tight minerality. Wonderfully fluid without fatness, this is a very fine wine indeed. DOG POINT 2008 SECTION 94 SAUVIGNON BLANC Marlborough • Natural Cork This falls into the powerful category, but without losing any finesse or detail. Rich nose is ripe and balanced with florals, yeast and a nice measure of spice. Lively, almost raucous with a flirty manner it never lacks power or presence and begs bottle age to yield even more complexity than the impressive level it already shows. Hints of preserved lemons are as close as it gets to being simply fruity. All class. MAHI 2008 BOUNDARY FARM SAUVIGNON BLANC Marlborough • Screw Cap Fresh nose is a nice duet on mealiness and fine fruit aromas. Palate has pure Cape gooseberry aspects and a nicely plump texture. Again fine rather

than powerful with charming peach and melon characters and sustained interest in its detail. Long finish is fine, minerally and smeared with fruit flavours. MAHI 2008 THE ALIAS SAUVIGNON BLANC Marlborough • Screw Cap Has elements of sulphide stink with fresh tropicals, richness and touches of sweat. Rather like crème Anglaise made with old eggs. Creamy palate supports this idea, and the stink is replaced by minerality and intense fruit characters all with a mineral tone. Firm, austere at the finish, but tight and composed. Stylishly so. www. CLOUDY BAY 2007 TE KOKO Marlborough • Screw Cap Pungent nose is bursting with aromatic interest; oak, yeast, lees and ripe sauvignon blanc. The big, slick palate is firm and strong and while there is a circus dimension to the sheer nerve of this wine. Superbly crafted into an exquisite balance of structure and flavour, texture and aroma. Top class wine that defines its own style as a New Zealand classic. Inimitable, firm and persistently strong. TE MATA 2009 CAPE CREST Hawkes Bay • Natural Cork Bristly, aromatic and touched with nettles, it has a rich fruit note that Ben describes as Wattie’s peaches (from the can) with custard. Strong and stroppy, with minerality and some nice ripe textures, hints of allspice throughout and a strong, lingering finish. A bold, assertive wine.

A FEW WORTHIES THAT ATTRACTED INTEREST, but fell short of sophisticated excellence for the reasons specified. SERESIN 2007 MARAMA SAUVIGNON BLANC Marlborough • Screw Cap Classic oak fermented and aged savvie, from the mid-1990s era. Not quite in this company for detail, subtlety or finesse, but a bloody good drink. MATAHIWI 2008 HOLLY SAUVIGNON BLANC Wairarapa • Screw Cap Very stylish wine which only failed to meet the high standards of this category by excessive oak. Ben wants to give it some more time to show its paces, believing there is too much craft and detailed flavour to jump to a hasty conclusion. Certainly has moments of brilliance between the oak staves. MATARIKI 2007 RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC Hawkes Bay • Screw Cap Nicely manufactured, with oak and deep, suave flavours, but lacking in panache or life. JACKSON ESTATE 2008 GREY GHOST SAUVIGNON BLANC Marlborough • Screw Cap Very good wine showing the disadvantages of too much sulphur. Has gained an element of wet cardboard since last tasted by both panellists. MATUA VALLEY 2009 PARETAI SAUVIGNON BLANC Marlborough • Screw Cap Vivacious, highly aromatic, punchy wine with pizzazz and arms full of tropical and citrus flavours. Bright and bristling with attitude, but not really in the same camp as those at left. A very good Marlborough savvie classic.

WINE Profile



Getting reacquainted with an old friend Tyrrell’s wines are matched with our best food. Bruce Tyrrell, head of the famous Hunter Valley wine company Tyrrell’s, is no stranger to New Zealand having been a regular visitor when his wines were well-distributed here throughout the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Back then, Bruce’s father, the inimitable Murray, was head of this well-established family company, and Tyrrell’s wines were considered by leaders of the hospitality industry to be amongst Australia’s elite at a time when most imports from that country were mere supermarket fodder. Indeed, it was the remarkable Tyrrell’s Bin 47 Pinot Chardonnay that began a long love affair between New Zealand restaurants and Australian chardonnay, with that wine being the first of the modern Australian white wines with any gravitas. Tyrrell’s continues to be one of the stalwarts of the Hunter Valley, and one Australian wine producer that has never lost its way in the quest for quick sales in the United States. For this reason, Tyrrell’s remains one of the finest wine producers in all of Australia, and the company was named Winery of the Year by James Halliday in his 2010 Wine Companion, Australia’s most respected annual wine guide. The great news is that Bruce Tyrrell is coming to New Zealand to reacquaint himself with New Zealand’s restaurateurs and wine media in July, with support from Tyrrell’s agents, Kahurangi Wines. The visit will focus around what Tyrrell’s does best, supporting its top wines with high quality food, with Tyrrell hosting a series of dinners in the main centres. Given the laconic humour and storytelling skills of Bruce, who is certainly a chip off the old Murray block, these should be great fun as well as a revelation to those who have never been presented with Tyrrell’s wine. For those who have, they will be events filled with fond memories and promise.

The format for each event will see Tyrrell’s wine matched with each course, followed by a tasting of a selected range of Tyrrell’s wines. The schedule for the Tyrrell’s wine experience is as follows: Auckland • Monday 26th July: Dinner and wine match at the Northern Club • Tuesday 27th July: Private lunch at Monsoon Poon for the wine media and some selected trade customers • Tuesday 27th July: Public dinner and wine match at Fine Wine Delivery Company with Michelin-trained Nelson chef Matt Bouterey (from Cuisine’s regional restaurant of the year) • Telephone Fine Wine Delivery Company for reservations for the dinner, 09 377 2300. Wellington • Wednesday 28th July: Public dinner and wine match at Martin Bosleys, also selected trade and wine media • Telephone Martin Bosley, 04 920 8302 Christchurch • Thursday 29th July: Lunch and wine match for trade and wine media at Riccarton House • Thursday 29th July: Public dinner and wine match at Riccarton House • Telephone Riccarton House, 03 348 6190

For the great selection of Kahurangi and Tyrrell’s wines and the range of premium Godet cognacs go to

SPIRITSpecial taste Something


Penfolds makes a grand entry Australia’s best at Melbourne’s most fashionable eatery. By Keith Stewart


ue de Monde is the restaurant Melbourne’s gastronomes love to recommend, a place where the wait-staff’s hauteur is on a par with the customers. The rarefied atmosphere of Vue de Monde only served to emphasise the genial humility and generosity of Penfold’s host for an unforgettable evening, winemaker Peter Gago. His wines were the real stars in an establishment that specialises in stellar dishes. A dozen Kiwis gathered in Melbourne for the event, which preceded Penfold’s annual May 1 launch of its most fabulous wines, crowned by the invariably majestic Grange in its latest vintage suit, the 2005. Coming after the widely applauded 2004 Grange, from a vintage that has not been enthusiastically promoted by Aussie wine media, this wine was every bit as statuesque as Grange should be, one that will perform superbly with some bottle age. Star of the pre-dinner tasting that

introduced Penfold’s best in its latest form, was St Henri, a wine that has lived for 50 years now in Grange’s shadow. On this showing there is no reason that it should, for the elegance and sheer aromatic presence of the 2006 St Henri suggest it will continue to be a credit to its name for at least a generation. If you want an Aussie heirloom for your grandchildren, this is it. Yattarna also danced well on the night, without taking the top prize, but confirming that it is one of the world’s finest dry whites and well suited to this company. RWT is no longer simply a tribute to Penfold’s prosaic turn of phrase (RWT stands for Red Wine Trial), but has carved out a niche for itself amongst Australia’s red wine elite. Finally 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine I have long lusted after, put in an appearance that in no way soothed my beating heart. About the rest of these

The Penfolds Magill estate.

wines there is a cerebral hum, a sense that winemakers are paying attention at every stage while they work their craft, leaving the audience impressed. With 707 there is poetry in the air too, a sensual thrill that is something else altogether. Of the 2007 it must be said that the thrill is not fading. After the hard work of tasting this remarkable line up, we sat down to a Vue de Monde’s artistry in matching a selection of classic past vintages, often served from large bottles. Again the star was St Henri, this time the 1991. Elegant, suave and fine with a delicious bouquet wound around it, it was more than a match for the accompanying dish of ocean trout. Indeed, this match summed up the evening, outstanding wines matched by indulgent food courtesy of chef/patron Shannon Bennett. But oh those wines! They were the winner on the night.

Winemaker Peter Gago – the early years.


spirit taste

Hard to find spirit Fine rum – Move over Cornish smugglers and Highland bandits, the pirates of the Caribbean are here.

By Keith Stewart


um is the hot spirit right now – and not just as a classic mixer in the most fashionable cocktails of the moment. There are there two rums listed amongst the world’s top drinks brands for the first time and the spirit has also become an option for gourmands selecting what to drink at the end of an evening of fine dining – the classic postprandial. Cognac, with some mild competition in a few quarters from Armagnac, its rustic, Gascon compatriot, dominated postprandial fine dining for generations. This was part driven by the English aristocracy’s taste for it, and in particular their propensity to drink anything that avoided excise, as cognac was for centuries a popular cargo for smugglers running across the English Channel, along with Normandy lace and Provençal perfume. Not paying English customs duty was one thing but trading with Highland rebels was another, and for all its romantic origins in the Scottish north, whisky took at least 200 years to gain credence amongst Sassenachs. Single malt whisky’s rise as an after-dinner

snifter is very much a feature of the late 20th Century, towards the end of which it has challenged cognac as the most prestigious of spirits. But, now there is another challenger, and this from a far more radical source than Cornish smugglers or Highland bandits – Caribbean pirates. Fine rum, known to Caribbean locals as “sipp’n’ rum” has had a following throughout the Central American islands for as long as rum has been distilled from cane sugar. However, only lately, especially under the leadership of Appleton, has rum really staked a claim to fine dining’s conclusion. The problem is that being a late starter in satisfying international demand for fine spirits, rum producers are struggling to keep up with demand. The more barrel-aged rum they sell, the harder it becomes to age enough stock for the future. Anything over 10 years old is, by definition, genuinely rare. THE TASTING I conducted the tasting in Auckland at the Jervois Steak House on Jervois Road, Herne Bay, a venue suited to the

atmosphere of simple but fine dining, imbued with the slightly testosteronetinged air provided by red meat and dark wine, in which the finest of spirits show off their best. Rather than preordain what would be tasted, the spirits available were no more than a selection of what the sommelier at Jervois Steak House provides, given that it probably represents the best of its style in the city. Unsurprisingly it did, being one of those very rare establishments that takes itself seriously enough to offer the finest of all cognacs, Delamain Pale and Dry XO, as well as some excellent single malts, age-blended whiskies, Armagnac and a selection of aged Appleton rums. Served burnished on the beaten copper surface of the JSH bar, the spirits were all nosed where they lay in champagne flûtes, glasses of just the right proportions for a top class spirit, after which equal parts of water were added for the subsequent tasting, as well as the chance to revisit the nose “on the rise” as water releases its more subtle characteristics. As always for grill, each was allocated a mark out of 10 as an indication of its quality, with notes as follows: RUM 8 APPLETON ESTATE 12 YEAR OLD 43% abv

Ripe and plump on the nose with a tinge of ripe citrus and some sweet shadows emerging from the mellow oak and warm spirit. Palate is soft and very charming, giving extra vigour with a dash of alcohol warmth that lingers at the finish. The palate is light and sweet, which the spirit never detracts from, yet with some lovely subtleties. Classy and fine, this is impressive stuff that is a long way ahead of where rum was not so long ago.

grill would like to thank Jervois Steak House on Jervois Road, Herne Bay for the use of their fine premises and fine spirits.

SPIRIT taste


Again a nose that is ripe with soft, measured sweetness and a hint of aromatic fruit about it. More subtlety and detail than on the 12 YO, and a greater influence from the oak, but with the same perfect balance between spirit and flavour that keeps the whole very fine. Flavours are well spread with momentum, although the numerous details make it impossible to isolate just what fruits are to be seen amongst the oak nuances that 21 years have delivered. Superb! A quite remarkable performance of the type that will see rum becoming a more regular performer at the end of great meals. ARMAGNAC


D’ARINAC V.S. 40% abv

A powerful, braw nose with vigour and a coarse edge, with plenty of strong grapey aromas and flavour, well shot with oak. Mellow flavours are energised by the slightly volatile spirit, the sort of stuff that comes in handy when getting ones courage up.

throaty V8 such as would power an AC Cobra. Plenty of scale and vigour, big, buxom and rich with sensual charm. SCOTCH 8 WHISKY CHIVAS REGAL 18 YEAR OLD 40% abv

Suave nose is all subtle oak and detailed melodies from deep in the Highlands – fragrant, fine and filled with grain flavours edged in gentle smoke. An elegant palate delivers the consummate Scotch, sophisticated and very refined with a long, lingering finish and lovely textures that meld the spirit and grain together. Superb! SCOTCH



Subtle fragrance off a strongly aromatic nose that is filled with Highland flowers, grain and sherry-like oak. A fine, high toned spirit that is flavoursome, mellow and showing remarkable nuances of flavour in one so young. Its full, smoky, mealy palate draws on and on to a lingering, satisfying finish. Very smart indeed.



RARE BREED Barrel proof 53% abv

Mellow, ripely classic Bourbon nose is sweet and pungent with a strong oak quality and just an edge of extra fire about it. Fluid, fine, sweet, very mellow spirit is effortlessly powerful and smooth, rather like a




Strong nose has plenty of aromatic muscle as well as a dash of unusual notes that make it slightly edgy. Palate has subtlety, but a certain lack of depth


of flavour that is atypical for single malt in general, and Glenfiddich in particular. Not quite the pure water character one is used to with this spirit. Sweetish front palate is followed by a dry finish and some lingering aspects of warm grain that leave a pleasant memory. SCOTCH



A very fine nose of mealy/smoky characters, laced with subtleties that have elements of sweetness, oak, and flowers. Very complex bouquet is a huge asset and the clarity on the palate is just the pure character that Glenfiddich is famous for. Its fine spirit is never less than vigorous, but delivered with such grace as to be without challenge. A superb whisky that is as finely reassuring as the best invariably is, and the finish, long, detailed, suave. COGNAC 10 DELAMAIN XO PALE AND DRY • GRANDE CHAMPAGNE 40% abv

From its fine, fragrant, whisperingly grape-smeared nose this is the standard by which cognac gained its famous reputation for “VSOP” = very superior old pale, with the added quality of being bone dry. It is alive with simply spectacular old oak character, investing a filigree of lacy flavour details across the nose and palate like some collection of crown jewels. Most particularly the spirit is subtle and very, very fine, no jarring notes, no dirty little asides. Simply magnificent – supple, firm and precise, but with poetry to move you.

Jervois Steak House on Jervois Road, Herne Bay, fine dining, fine wines and a fine bar.

…. supple, firm and precise, but with poetry to move you.


Foodservice The Spirit of Hospitality

Hospitality in New Zealand

– The Fine Food Show 1














Photos: Sarah Habershon



The second in our series celebrating manaakitanga in Aotearoa New Zealand.


The first biennial New Zealand Fine Food Show was held in Auckland on June 13-15 and in the estimation of the 240 or so exhibitors and the thousands of visitors, it was a resounding success. For this credit must go to Fine Food New Zealand event organiser and CEO of North Port Events Dona White. The show was also the venue for the inaugural Gourmet Pacific Challenge, a series of competitions to determine culinary supremacy of New Zealand or Australia between teams from the Chefs Associations of each country.

On Sunday and Monday the respective associations’ youth culinary teams competed in individual cook offs, then finished with a teams’ event. Eventually it was New Zealand Team Two that came out on top, led by Sarah Primrose from The Pear Tree Restaurant in Kerikeri. The Senior National Teams took to the arena on Tuesday in ‘The Battle of the Tasman’ culinary challenge and had five hours to prepare and cook a four-course meal for 70 people. And again it was the New Zealand team that took the trophy.

Battle of the Tasman winners – New Zealand. Culinary challenge.

Aussie team member preparing a Regal King Salmon entree. competition – plating up.

The medal winning New Zealand Youth Team.

Battle of the Tasman – Kiwi team under the hammer.

Battle of the Tasman –

Che-Tam’s Best in Class dish.

The Fine Food Show – gingerbread house.

Shaun Elliott of New Zealand King Salmon, winner of Best New Food Service Product. from United Fisheries.


Tempting tidbits

Che-Tam Nguyen competes in the Australian Junior Chefs' competition.

Tasman – the Aussie team's Regal King Salmon entree. Fine Food Show.

Junior Chefs'

New Zealand King Salmon's display.

Electrolux attempts an invasion.

Chevalier Produce – fine fresh fruit and vegetables.

Association of New Zealand.

Battle of the Electrolux at the

Steve MacKenzie, CEO, Restaurant

Chef Marcus Quaterman and Fine Food Show boss Dona White.


wrap up

On top of all that More irritating than a wine bore is a closure bore. By Keith Stewart


ine bores have been conviviality wreckers for generations, but if you really want to have your sophisticated conversation derailed by mindnumbing details, try asking a closure bore, “Is cork dead?” You will get one of three types of genuine bore. The first will argue that screw caps deliver wine free from cork taint, “exactly as the winemaker intended”. The second is the genuinely science-literate pragmatist, with arguments you need a masters degree in organic chemistry to understand; way beyond the level of most professional winemakers and wine enthusiasts. The third is likely to be male, middle aged or older, and conservative, for

whom the best wines in the world are made in France, and closed with cork. Indeed, natural cork is not only the traditional wine closure proven over time, but is the only one that is capable of enriching the romantic persona of wine with cellar-aged nuances. The truth is somewhere in between all three, with wine as likely to be sealed with a screw cap or a glass stopper as it is with cork – or all manner of other devices that are intended to keep the wine free from excessive oxygen contact and from spilling whilst in transit. Cork became the closure of choice at a time when bottles first became available to winemakers, who, until then had been shipping their product in 2000-year-old technology – wooden

barrels. Early wine had all manner of closures, including a piece of old rag soaked in olive oil. Not exactly ideal if you were a serious winemaker, so it is no wonder that the Iberian idea of using the flexible bark from the cork oak quickly gained favour. As bottles became standard packaging, so corks became the most common form of closure; one which delivered wine with the ability to age in cellar. Cork worked as a secure barrier against oxygen, the most damaging influence on wine’s stability, while allowing some interchange between inside and outside the bottle, moderating the effects of sulphur development in the wine and the resulting stinky, flavour-impaired product.

wrap up

This first real challenge to cork took the form of glass stoppers, more commonly used with beer and soft drinks, with the glass made oxygen tight with rubberised seals. Expense was always a problem with these, and with wine travelling far greater distances to market than soft drinks and bottled beer, cork retained its edge. The arrival of crown cap seals with rubberised linings was the first significant change to beverage packaging, with an immediate influence on wine. Many inexpensive products soon adopted this cheaper option, although the seal was never up to the standard of cork. This was the beginning of a packaging revolution in the beverage business that would change the way beverages were delivered to market, with crown caps becoming the most common closure. Their advantage was that they did not require high precision specs in bottle manufacture. They could also be produced from inferior metal. This rubber-sealed option became the cost-efficient preference for most beverage producers around the world, with costs shaved by the introduction of lighter, thinner metals as aluminium alloys became available, followed by a more significant technological breakthrough with plasticised seals replacing rubber. Plastic rapidly developed to offer the greatest flexibility in beverage packaging as well as cost savings. Plastic resins that could be applied as impermeable skins to packs otherwise unsuitable as food grade materials also transformed packaging options. Cans became an option for products, such as soft drinks, beer and wine, that had proven destructive of most metal packaging materials. Lined with epoxy-like resins, cans suddenly became an alternative for beverage manufacturers overcoming problems of

recycling and weight. Cans were light, and in most cases provided an ideal drinking vessel. While wine in cans has never really become acceptable to its established market, it is a packaging method that was trialled by wine producers as diverse as the French (in the 1960s and ’70s), the Californians (in the 1970s) and the Australians, who discovered wine in cans within the last decade. For beer and soft drinks, especially for international brands, cans have become the most common form of packaging. There are signs, however, that soft packs – plastic bags with oxygen secure structures – could replace the can. In part this has come about because of the high energy cost of aluminium, which is the most common material for can production, and because flexipacks offer more options to innovative packaging designers. The flexipack market is on the verge of considerable growth. This process began for the beverage industry with bulk packs of various products used in catering venues, and retail wine bag-inbox packages that were a cheap popular option during the 1970s and 1980s. This lost momentum as price cannibalism reduced bag-in-box margins to an unsustainable level and most producers exited the business. Bags-in-boxes continue to survive out of Australia and through a few local producers such as Pernod Ricard, and have a substantial share of the non-alcoholic beverage market for fruit juices and milk. There is also potential for considerable growth in the soft pack market for single serve sauces and other individualised packaging. It is being trialled in various forms as a single serve option for wine and RTDs, using what is termed ‘functional film’. Currently this product makes up 20% of China’s plastics production, with that country the


fastest growing producer in the global plastics industry. Functional films could take up much of the market sector currently occupied by cans. Other options that have taken a slice of the cork market in the wine sector are compound corks, otherwise known by brand names such as Twin Tops, which use ground-up cork recombined using epoxy adhesives and protected from the contents by natural cork surfaces. This has long been an option in the sparkling wine trade, where Champagne producers adopted compound corks, known as technical corks, over 50 years ago. A more highly refined version is Oeneo Closures Diam product, a compound cork that contains synthetic holes that allow a more accurate recreation of the action of natural cork. The ground cork used in these is carbon dioxide-washed to eliminate taint. Many luxury producers choose this option as it is closest to natural cork in terms of performance. Crown caps have also gained a following amongst winemakers, especially sparkling wine producers. Finally, there has been a return to the old glass stopper option. This has been adopted by winemakers who are concerned about the cheap image of screw caps and crown seals, and by any public health concerns regarding endocrine disruptors (ED) in plastics. The latest version, Nu Lok, features Elvax, an ethylene-vinyl acetate seal that is free of plasticisers that may present ED problems. The glass-on-glass aspect of this closure also presents a clean, high quality image that is better suited to wine drinkers than the screw-cap option that has become popular in New Zealand. The only certainty is that opening tomorrow’s drinks will present different challenges to those faced by present-day hospo professionals.


the spirit of hospitality

Sharpen up The “reregulation” of liquor sales proposed by the Law Commission has sent shivers through the hospitality industry. But it’s imparted a clear message: shape up and self regulate – quickly – or suffer the inevitable consequences.

cynical within the hospitality industry is that the inevitable reregulation has been put on hold until after a certain rugby event and political election late next year. Whatever the reason, the industry has been given a breathing space to take account of the wake-up call, and get proactive on the challenges at hand. “The Government is working really hard to reduce alcohol abuse,” says James Beck, events manager at Live Bar on Auckland’s Hobson Street. “But these propositions are a kneejerk reaction to the fact that they’re not getting anywhere with their current campaigns.” By Palmer’s own admission, the liquor industry in New Zealand employs a “terrific” amount of people. Beck is one of those who stands to lose their business if the Law Commission’s recommendations are ever passed into law.

“Keep them sober, they buy more.”

By Sarah Habershon


lthough the Law Commission’s recommendations for changes to legislation relating to the sale and supply of liquor are not being beaten into the books just yet, no one can deny that New Zealand has a binge drinking problem that demands attention in some form or other. The question remains: whose responsibility is it and what actions can be taken that will have the maximum positive impact with the least negative side effects? The Law Commission’s recommendations, which include a 2am lockdown on licensed premises, raising the purchase age Above: Keep an eye on this one.

to 20 at off-licences, ending the sale of liquor at off-licences at 10pm and a 50% increase on excise tax on alcohol, are a mixed bag of punches below the belt for those who make their living off the sale of liquor. Worse, they fail to address the real underlying issues. However, despite this it is clear that the prospect of legislative action is not a question of ‘if’ but of ‘when’, although the Government has indicated that tougher regulations along the lines the commission has recommended will not be implemented this year. Speculation among the more

As Live’s main drawcard is its 24-hour liquor licence, most patrons don’t arrive until at least 2.30am, so the recommended 2am lockdown would, Beck believes, see Live Bar close its doors forever within a month of the legislation being passed. Tax increases will also harm the business: “A 50% increase in excise tax on a beer will increase its retail price to $10 if the bar is to cover all its costs.” Beck has observed a 10% to 20% drop in profit lines over the past five years, which he believes is due to increases in tax and general expenses, “besides which people are just spending less in town”. If or when the Law Commission’s proposals take effect, Beck expects to see more and more ‘pre-loading’, as people spend more of their money on liquor from off-licences which they then consume either at home or in their car before entering the bar – a trend that already appears to be increasing.

the spirit of hospitality

So what can be done to influence the drinking behaviour of New Zealanders and reduce the necessity for punishing legislative change? Bruce Robertson, chief executive of the Hospitality Association, has indicated that it would be better for the hospitality industry if supermarket liquor sales ceased and James Beck agrees. Supermarkets occasionally sell under cost, using beer and wine specials to encourage spending on accompanying products. Cheaper liquor being made available at supermarkets and off-licences, says Beck, “just encourages more of that pre-loading” and serves to disincentivise people to purchase alcohol at bars. He believes that people drinking in bars are safer than those who drink at home. “I’ve never seen a game of circle of death being played in a bar!” “Earlier closure of off-licences is the kind of law change that will make a difference,” says John Greet, owner of K Rd’s Verona, a licensed cafe. Greet’s business suffers from the practice of buying one drink at the bar, then topping it up from a bottle purchased at a late-night offlicence. Recent crackdowns by the police on pavement seating after midnight have also had an impact on Verona, forcing early closure. Greet questions the benefit Above: Would you serve this man?

to public safety of closing a business supplying food and a safe, sit-down environment late at night. “If someone wanders in drunk, we give them water and keep them here,” he says, adamant that police presence on the street does less good than committed hospitality. Beck suggests closer monitoring of the host responsibility policy. “Put undercover agents into bars,” he says. “As it is, we already have our balls on the chopping block 24/7 to protect the licence, which is our biggest trading point.” He is surprised that the enforcing authorities don’t follow up more closely on the host responsibility policy, which in itself is a good guideline for protecting customers, staff and profits. “We do our best to make sure that intoxicated people aren’t served, but obviously there are others who aren’t making that effort.” Instead of preventing people from drinking by closing bars and raising expenses, it might be better to focus on helping people to drink safely. Good management can encourage customers to drink more slowly and not only have a better time but make more money for the bar. “Entertainment slows down drinking,” says Beck, who observes this trend on the nights when Live Bar hires live acts to


entertain customers. The pace at which people drink has an impact on their intoxications levels; tightening the window of opportunity for drinkers by enforcing a 2am lockdown, says Beck, will reinforce the happy hour mentality; “with a shorter time to drink, people drink faster”. Shaping a customer’s experience by gentle, subtle manipulation will help them have a better night, and slowly establish better drinking habits. Well-trained staff are more capable of managing the drinking of their customers. Beck encourages his staff to challenge punters who have been up to the bar more than a few times to scull a glass of water before their next alcoholic drink is served. “It’s easy to take care of your customers,” he says, “and it keeps them coming back. The more water they drink, the fuller their stomach is and the slower they’ll consume their beer. Plus they’ll feel a lot better in the morning if they keep well hydrated.” It needs to be made clear – bearing in mind that actions are louder than words – that this industry is not out to get people pissed. In fact binge drinking lowers profits for nightclubs. In simple terms, the longer someone is on their feet and dancing, the more times they will approach the bar waving a tenner. “Keep them sober, they buy more,” says Beck, who is disappointed that there are too many people out there not taking care of their customers, contributing to the problem of alcohol abuse. The long and short of the issue is that it’s not the drinking, it’s how they’re drinking. Good management is capable of contributing to reforming the drinking habits of the public with the right kind of assistance from the authorities. Good entertainment, better trained staff, limited availability of “ take-out” alcohol and actual enforcement of the host responsibility policy are key factors in reducing the harms of alcohol abuse without needing to shoot the hospitality industry in the kneecaps. grill approached the New Zealand Police for comment but despite a number of attempts was unable to get a response.



New food bill is a blank canvas Call to action: Restaurant sector needs to be active to meet challenge of new legislation.


he Food Bill 2010 is potentially one of the biggest changes ever to the restaurant environment in New Zealand. It could alter the entire food safety regime for restaurants, as it puts the onus on the form of future regulations on the industry itself. In its concentration on risk management, it is in line with recent recommendations from the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) to Congress calling for a change in food-safety priorities towards prevention of, rather than response to, outbreaks. This demands concentration on evaluating and managing risk, which the IOM considers to be a role of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recommending that it employs risk management experts. The New Zealand approach is to relay that risk management to operators, such as individual restaurants, under the umbrella of what the new bill terms a ‘food control plan’. The proposed legislation makes such plans available for multiple usage, so either restaurant chains, group operations or an industry representative organisation such as the Restaurant Association, can

By Keith Stewart

develop a template for a food control plan which will then be applied to all in that sector. In its current form it is also possible for a regional authority to develop its own standard food control plan, which it can then apply arbitrarily to all restaurants under its administration. In effect, this means that a national standard adopted by an industry body such as the Restaurant Association can be ignored by a regional authority and another applied in that region’s territory. This is not the greatest problem facing the restaurant community with this new legislation – laziness is. If the community does not take ownership of the regulations, they will be imposed from above with little respect for the realities of running a restaurant/cafe/ catering business. Everybody needs to get active, and in the first instance go online and read (the most boring read of your life, I am sure) the details of the Food Bill 2010 as they apply to your business. The next stage is to communicate with the Restaurant Association

Important! ‘The most boring read of your life.’

about anything in that document that concerns you, or, if not the Restaurant Association you could make submissions to the Parliamentary Select Committee which is making recommendations on possible changes to the legislation before it is passed. In any consideration of these matters, take into account that the new attitude is risk, so that any regulation being imposed needs to consider reasonable risk to your customers and nothing else. If that risk cannot be quantified by science, it should not be included in any restrictions on service. Theoretically, the act will require all operators under it to be proactive in reducing the risk of food-borne illness, and it is doing so by laying down a completely blank sheet for a rewrite of the regulations. Every restaurateur and chef out there is well aware of the stupidity of some existing food-safety regulations, so now is the chance to get rid of them and make your lives so much easier. It is also a great opportunity to show the country how professional the hospo sector is.

Go to to find out how to make a submission, or contact the Restaurant Association of New Zealand on 09 638 8403.



Good faith – what is it? Employment legislation is littered with the words good faith; it is not a religion, but a requirement.


he Employment Relations Act 2000 is bound by the principles of good faith and the act goes into some detail to define this. However, not many of you necessarily have time to ponder the finer details of legislation and case law. When the Employment Relations Act 2000 came into being its focus was more on the employment relationship itself, whereas in previous years there was stronger focus on the contract. When the legislation was first introduced the concept of good faith was relatively new to New Zealanders and was hotly debated as far as meaning and interpretation was concerned. The act has now been in operation for nine years and we have plenty of case law to help us define what it means to act in good faith during an employment relationship. The online Oxford Dictionary defines good faith as a noun meaning honesty or sincerity of intention. This is a good definition and helps clarify what some of the expectations are

under the act which specifically states the requirement of duty to deal with one another honestly. Parties must not, whether intentionally or indirectly, mislead or deceive one another in their dealings. The duty of good faith encompasses more than just obligations of trust and confidence, it also requires that employer and employee be active in maintaining a productive employment relationship. The way to maintain a productive relationship is through communication. The act also states that if an employer is proposing to make a decision that will affect an employee’s job or situation within the business, that the employer must provide information to the employee about any proposed decision before the decision is made. Deeks and Rasmussen (2002) describe good faith as an implied duty to be trustworthy and co-operative, or to refrain from “any action which would break the relationship of trust and

confidence between themselves and their employees. Just as an employee can be guilty of misconduct so too may an employer – for example, by failing to conduct fair and reasonable investigations into incidents which might give rise to dismissal or by failing to consult the employee before radically altering the job.” The duty to act in good faith is a two-way street for employees and employers. Employees are also obliged to be open and honest in their dealings with employers. To breech the sanctity of trust in the employment relationship will often amount to serious misconduct. Employment agreements must lay out the situations in which this would occur. An analogy of the principle of good faith was once given by a judge in the employment court room: “Imagine that the person you’re dealing with is a close relative. Would this make you behave differently, if so, it would probably pay to adjust your dealings?”

Marisa Bidois is the Employment Relations Advisor for the Restaurant Association of New Zealand. Her experience and knowledge of the hospitality industry contribute to her ability to give sound advice to employers nationwide.



The feast, the fare and the Fernando Three premier hospitality events will be held over three days in August, on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th. Organised by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, they encompass the Feast by Famous Chefs, the Telecom MasterClasses and the New Zealand Culinary Fare. by John Clarke


he Feast by Famous Chefs dinner is the glamour social event for the industry and this black tie gala dinner will be held at SKYCITY, Auckland on Sunday August 22. 2010’s four Famous Chefs are: First Course: Francky Godinho, the Culinary Fare Chef of the Year in 2009 (and 2007), from Te Awa Winery, Hawkes Bay. Second Course: Laurent Loudeac, the winner of the 2009 Kapiti Chef Collection, from Hippopotamus Restaurant, Wellington. Main Course: Ben Bayly, chef of this year’s Supreme Winner of Metro Magazine Restaurant of the Year, The Grove, Auckland.

Dessert: Richard Hingston, Culinary Fare Pastry Chef of the Year 2003, from Crowne Plaza, Christchurch. The executive coordinating chef this year is Mark Wylie (SKYCITY) and tickets will be on sale from July from The Restaurant Association. Telecom MasterClasses will be presented by the great Fernando Peire, director of both The Ivy, London’s premier restaurant, and The Club at the Ivy, London’s leading private members’ club. After the success of last year’s MasterClasses, with all places booked out before the event, you will need to be quick to get in. Anyone with any interest in how to be successful in our business should take the opportunity to learn from Peire. He has turned around some of the great and famous, but fading, hospitality joints in the world including the Ivy in the early 1990s and Marco Pierre White’s ailing Quo Vadis. He returned to the Ivy in 2007 as a shareholder and director and gave it a kick in the ass just when it needed one. The New Zealand Culinary Fare competition will also be held over the three days in Hall 2 at the ASB Showgrounds, Auckland. This is the 18th year that, with the support of many sponsors, the Restaurant

(L-r) Restaurant Association of New Zealand president Mike Egan, HSI board chair Carol Stigley and HSI CEO Steve Hanrahan at last year's Feast.

Fernando Peire.

Association of New Zealand will host the New Zealand Culinary Fare in association with the Hospitality Standards Institute. With up to 1000 competitors, over 75 competitions and believed to be the world’s largest competition of its kind, this event is informative and exciting for both competitor and spectator. As should be the case, all competitions are judged under the WACS (World Association of Chefs) guidelines. Each year the Culinary Fare grows in stature and importance to the hospitality industry and the Restaurant Association can be justly proud of this 18-year achievement. As Mike Egan, president of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, says: “Have a great competition, be humble in victory and if not successful you will still have learned a great deal more than colleagues that did not compete at all!” It is a great way to see what is going on in the industry, meet and compare yourself with your peers and you never know you just may see the person who you want working with you in your shop. Closing date for entries is Friday 23rd July so get your skates on. For all the guff on the Culinary Fare including the competition events schedule go to CulinaryFare.asp or


Four things you need to consider this winter


• Training The winter season is upon us and it’s often a time when we can reflect on training. Employers will say to me that they cannot afford to spend money on training especially because staff in the hospitality industry are often transient. I remind them that the real worry is having them stay with no training. To help you get on top of staff training in your business, this month I want to share some of the valuable insights into training that I have learned from the knowledgeable presenters at taste.

• Consistency

• Clear systems Remember to have clear systems set up in your workplace. As it gets busier systems tend to fly out the window if they are not clearly communicated to all staff. Having written guidelines can often be helpful as people have something to refer to if the need arises. This also reinforces the fact that your systems are set in stone, and may help to stop confusion. At the Ivy in London, they have training manuals for every aspect of the restaurant, including one on how to answer the phone. It often helps to have a list of frequently asked questions by the phone, so staff can find the answers for customer inquiries. This can add a touch of professionalism to any establishment. How often are people left waiting on the phone while a new staff member tries to find the right person to answer an otherwise simple question? A list can also lessen the incidences of wrong information being passed on to customers.

Some establishments encourage individuality in their staff, but if service becomes too individual in style it may lead to some inconsistency for your guests’ experience. Ideally you want guests to be confident that they will receive excellent service no matter who is on in the kitchen or looking after them at the table. Consistency is an important part of a successful establishment and a good point to remember is that the standard of your business is only as good as your weakest performer. Creating and adhering to systems will most certainly make your life easier when the pressure is on over the next few months.

• Leaders Staff need a great manager to lead them, whether in the kitchen or the front of house. The old saying about leading by example really rings true. If you expect your staff to walk around smiling at your guests then make sure your managers are the doing just that. If staff see managers ‘preaching and not practising’ your systems, the message will never sink in. Having a great leader is imperative to any successful training programme. A quote from Don Fletcher’s presentation rings true here: “Excellent service providers pay painstaking attention to detail, and realise a fundamental principle of life – if the little things are done well, there are no big problems.” Be sure to check out our up and coming seminars at taste MARISA BIDOIS IS THE GENERAL MANAGER OF TASTE – THE KITCHEN AND FUNCTION FACILITY AT THE RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION:



Aromatic Beauties Sam Kim on understanding Nelson; undeniably a fine wine region.


Photos: Sarah Habershon.

he Nelson region is a strong silent type. Not as flamboyant as Central Otago and dwarfed in size by its neighbour, Marlborough. Perhaps it’s because every Nelson winery is family owned and they simply go about making good wines. And there’s no doubt Nelson produces some of the country’s most irresistible and gratifying wines. As we embrace and celebrate regionality, it is fitting to pay more attention to this little region renowned for gloriously perfumed aromatics and sumptuously delicious Burgundy varieties. Nelson can be divided into two sub regions, the

Waimea Plains including Brightwater, and the Upper Moutere Hills. I love the precision and clarity of flavours from the Plains where some of the most intensely flavoured sauvignon blanc and riesling come from. Yet I equally adore the more textural wines from the Hills. Nelson’s aromatic wines, particularly riesling, gewürztraminer and pinot gris, have proven to be such great partners to Asian foods and fusion cuisine involving Asian flavours. The wines’ bright fruit flavours combined with subtle sweetness and spice notes work brilliantly with chilli, ginger and mild spices. Seifried Estate’s gewürztraminers and rieslings are meltingly delicious, and so are Blackenbrook’s aromatics, which show lovely perfume and richly textured mouthfeel. Then there’s the indigenous yeasts and barrel-fermented style of Neudorf Moutere Pinot Gris which display astonishing

complexity and silkiness. Sauvignon blanc is dominated by Marlborough, and rightly so. But have you tried Nelson sauvignons lately? Some of them show the intensity of Awatere with the lush fruit of the Wairau Valley. Spinyback, Waimea Estate and Seifried Estate sauvignons are now among the superstars of New Zealand wines. The Burgundy grapes, chardonnay and pinot noir, have also proven to be at home here in the sunny region. The region’s moderating sea breeze and other factors limit the cropping levels, ensuring flavour ripeness and concentration. Waimea Estate, Te Mania and Seifried Estate both make powerful expressions of chardonnay, while Greenhough and Neudorf make exquisitely fine and complex styles. Pinot noir from Brightwater Vineyards shows delicate fragrance and refined texture, whereas Rimu Grove in the Upper Moutere exhibits rich mouthfeel and savoury notes. Many wines are modestly priced, including fabulous Kahurangi and Anchorage rieslings, allowing restaurants to offer them by the glass or sell plenty on promotion. Whenever I see a wine list with more than a token gesture of Nelson wines, I know the person has shown appreciation and understanding of this undeniably fine wine region.



A tale of two Marlboroughs Celebrating the best of each other’s food and beverage crafts should be what “twin town” relationships are all about argues Geoff Griggs.


all me a cynic if you will, but I’ve always viewed the concept of twin town and sister cities with a healthy dose of scepticism. The way I see it, often there’s no obvious link between the towns or cities involved and the relationship seems to offer little more than an opportunity for endless reciprocal visits between civic dignitaries – all at the taxpayer’s expense. How much better then would it be to create meaningful exchanges between places which have a genuine cultural, geographic, or historic connection? With that in mind, last month while in the UK, I visited Marlborough in Wiltshire, the town which gave its name to the Kiwi province where I now live. Twenty years ago my parents lived in a small

village close to the Wiltshire town and, although I was keen to reacquaint myself with the area, the main reason for my visit was to foster a relationship link between brewers in the two Marlboroughs. Given the current high level of interest in craft brewing in both countries and the fact that Marlborough (New Zealand) wine is well established on the UK market, I believe the time is right to initiate such a link-up. Every July, the Wiltshire town hosts a three-day jazz festival and this year the event’s organisers are looking to include a marquee of food and drinks from Marlborough, New Zealand. Wineries and artisanal food producers have already confirmed their interest and it was my hope that some Marlborough beers might also make the journey. As consumers gradually become more aware of the diverse range of flavours and styles produced by the world’s breweries they come to discover that beer, like wine, is a product of the environment in which its raw materials are grown.

Like wine, beer is all about provenance. While the piny, grassy flavours of hops grown in and around Motueka in New Zealand smell and taste completely different to their earthy, citrusy counterparts grown in Worcestershire and Kent, the character of malted barley also varies according to where it is grown and as a result of the environment and techniques employed at the maltings. The bottom line is that the best craft beers, like fine wines, exhibit distinct regional and varietal accents. My first appointment in Wiltshire was not at a brewery, however, but at The Lamb pub in Marlborough town centre, where I was to meet the mayor. A genial man with an obvious appreciation for epicurean pleasures, Nick Fogg was sitting at the bar enjoying a pint of cider with the locals when I arrived. Our brief discussion ensued while I enjoyed two pints of Wadworth’s 6X, drawn directly from the wooden cask. The next morning I visited the local craft brewery. Housed in an anonymouslooking black building a few miles from Marlborough and backing onto fields of barley, Ramsbury Brewery is located on a ridge in glorious rolling Wiltshire countryside. I was met by senior brewer Andy Mellor who explained that the brewery was set up in October 2004 by Ramsbury Estate, a substantial local


farming business. Andy informed me that part of Ramsbury Estate’s production is in cereal crops and that some barley from the farm is malted (and milled) at Warminster Maltings for use by the brewery. While tasting several of his beers I brought Andy up to speed on the craft brewing scene in New Zealand and suggested that beers from the two Marlboroughs could be exchanged, thus exposing people on both sides of the world to new and interesting aromas and flavours. Although Andy expressed an interest in the project, there are clearly issues to be tackled. Freshness is a major concern and, given beer is a bulky and therefore expensive product to ship halfway around the globe, one suggestion is that the brewers and the ingredients could do the travelling, rather than the beers. This would see the brewers working in collaboration at each other’s breweries and would have the added benefit of giving them the opportunity to share experiences and exchange ideas. While I’m sure there are plenty of Poms who’d jump at the chance of experiencing the wonderful craft beers from Blenheim’s Moa and Renaissance breweries, having sampled them, I’m equally certain there are many Kiwis who’d love to check out the Ramsbury ales. Watch this space! Cheers!



danny’s diary

The good side of sugar



amed after 19th Century French chemist Jean-Antoine Chaptal, ‘chaptalisation’ or the controlled addition of sugar to wine, has proved to be one of the most important technological advances in the production of Champagne wine. Precise addition of sugar to base wine allowed the winemaker to control the eventual gas pressure in the bottles, and thus reduced traditional losses of up to 90

Above: Jean Antoine Chaptal

percent in the 1840s, to less than 10 percent a decade later. The greatly reduced cost of sugar which resulted from large scale planting of sugar beet, instead of importing cane sugar from the West Indies, was welcomed by all wine regions of France during the period of Emperor Napoleon III. From there on chaptalisation of lesser vintages resulted in great improvements in the quality and stability of all wine made, not only Champagne. The practice of enriching grape must with sugar spread rapidly throughout 19th Century Europe and later on into the New World, including New Zealand. In most countries where chaptalisation is permitted, the amount added is strictly controlled by legislation that aims at improving the potential wine quality, rather than simply increasing the volume of wine made. Dissolving the sugar in grape must or wine instead of water is the important part of the process in all table wines (white and red), or bottle fermented sparkling (Champagne). In more recent times, a small addition of sugar right at the end of primary, alcoholic fermentation by yeast, has been favoured by many fine red wine producers throughout

the world. Such a small addition of sugar (en cuvee) leads to improved vinosity and texture/complexity of flavour in the resulting wine. The increased presence of glycerol and other higher alcohols (other than the usual ethanol), is the likely cause. It is of interest and not a great surprise to note that the most vocal critical comments and legislation that prevents the addition of sugar originates from countries with hot climate regions. Here the addition of grape acid (tartaric), rather than chaptalisation with sugar, is common practice. Needless to say, the consumers of wines originating in cool climate regions since the days of Monsieur Chaptal, are happy to disagree with this point of view. Chaptalisation – A definition The process of adding sugar to grape must in order to increase the alcoholic strength of the wine. Adding sugar at this fermentation stage of the winemaking does not increase the sweetness of the wine. This process is often necessary and usually legal in cold climates where the lack of sunlight does not produce enough sugar in the grapes, but often illegal and unnecessary in countries with hot climates.

Danny Schuster is one of the great pioneers of the New Zealand wine industry.



Keeping Daisy out of the dark grill looks at factory farming in the dairy industry.


pplications to establish cubiclestyle indoor dairy farms housing 18,000 beasts in the Mackenzie basin, estimated to produce an annual turnover in excess of $30 million, have been withdrawn. Why? At $2.65 million, the consent process was deemed too expensive. Animal advocacy group SAFE’s campaign director Hans Kriek doesn’t believe this is any cause for celebration. “While this has delayed the establishment of these corporate dairy farms for the time being, it’s only a matter of time before new applications are lodged,” he said. The applications were made by Five Rivers, Southdown Holdings and Williamson Holdings to Ecan (Environment Canterbury) for farm developments in the Omarama and Ohau areas that would involve up to 17,850 dairy cows, housed in sheds and allowed outside for only 12 hours per day in the four-month off-peak season. The remaining eight months would see the animals contained, day and night, in indoor facilities. Fonterra rebuts ‘food miles’ related arguments from its European competitors by promoting New Zealand milk on the grounds that it is more environmentally friendly than factory-farmed

milk. Oddly enough, it is the ‘environmentally friendly’ flag which the factory farmers are waving in defence of their proposals. Effluent disposal is one of the dairy industry’s greatest threats to the environment. In April the West Coast Regional Council made an example of Potae and van der Poel, a Westland dairy company, by imposing a fine of $120,000 for dairy-effluent discharges which had polluted local waterways. Advocates of factory farming love to point out that if you keep a cow in a shed it is much easier to pick up its poo and put it somewhere the council approves of. Sticking tens of thousands of cows in a shed up in the high country where they can’t move about, socialise, frolic (though, admittedly, when was the last time you saw a dairy cow frolic?) or even do something as simple as eat grass is more in tune with the efforts of environmentalists than putting them in a paddock? Something here doesn’t compute. Commercial dairy farming of any description raises a number of animal welfare issues. Separating infants from their mothers shortly after birth causes acute distress. Metabolic stress is caused by continued high yield milk

production (imagine the physical condition of a human female who had borne a child then consistently lactated for 10 years). Standing on concrete during milking causes lameness and 10 percent of dairy cows in New Zealand suffer from extremely painful incidences of mastitis. Keeping animals in cramped, crowded conditions, prevented from expressing normal behaviour, will exacerbate much of the suffering already experienced by dairy cows. Overseas studies have shown that animals kept in stalls on concrete pads have higher incidences of lameness due to lack of exercise and access to pasture. Animals kept in these conditions are also more likely to develop mastitis. Keeping cows inside allows them to be fed high-protein feed instead of grass, increasing milk yield. Hans Kriek wonders why the new Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare 2010 doesn’t address the factory farming of cows, a critical issue likely to compromise the welfare of dairy cattle. It’s an issue now left up to market supply and demand. Demand to be supplied with milk from happy cows and keep Daisy out of the dark.


dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Illustration: Kezia Milne

For those about to rock grill salutes the musicians who put bums on seats in New Zealand’s public establishments. “


hat I want to know,” says Mister Bones with a wry grin, “is how come the sound guy gets paid more than we do.” Notorious minstrel duo Bones and Paul have been performing, both separately and in tandem, in pubs in and around Auckland for donkeys’ years, and for the most part are in it for the love. It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll; at the end of the uphill journey to the middle lies the pub gig. The money’s not great, the work is hard, the reception unpredictable and the logistics a flaming nightmare. Whipping out a set for a fee or a cut of the door charge may sound to would-be giggers like a god-sent opportunity, but the reality of coordinating band members, bagging a sound guy, publicising the event, transporting equipment and the hours of rehearsal required in order to deliver a quality performance makes a remuneration rate of 150 bucks for a threehour performance somewhat paltry. This is not a game for the semi-committed. Those musicians hardy enough

to work the pub rounds are more likely to be in it for the spirit of the performance than dollars in the jar. But live music is a key component of the making of merriment and a successful pub gig makes money for the bar and the performers; hopefully with a respectful yet receptive audience who are drinking responsibly and feeding back an encouraging vibe. “The audience are just as important as the act,” says Paul, speaking not just for the band but also for the bar which has invested in the presence of live entertainment. “Everyone takes a risk on the turnout.” The size and calibre of the crowd (for which the degree of publicity the gig has received has a lot to answer) can make or break a performance in an environment where the atmosphere is key. Demoralising as it is to play in front of an audience of five comprised for the most part of bar staff stationed behind immobile beer taps, Paul has learned from experience to treat those occasions as “great paid practice”. But by the same token, memories such as

nigh-on 100 Chinese tourists “dancing their balls off” to foot-stomping Irish classics around the floor of The Dog’s Bollix make it all worth it. Audience turnout is relevant in more than just one sense to the success of a pub gig. It’s not just a matter of bums on seats and beers in hands; the wrong crowd can numb an atmosphere with sterility or, on the flipside, dissolve into a rabble. It only takes one. Bones cringes at the recollection of the loud-mouthed lummox, lubricated by liquor, who improvised a Donald O’Connor impression on the floor of a small-town watering hole during his band’s set, followed by a demonstration of aerial stool-spinning – much in the style of a Japanese samurai taking on a mythical dragon. Having ducked numerous low-flying missiles and wondering why the offending patron had not been removed from the premises hours earlier, Bones made enquiries at the bar only to be informed; “Oh that’s just Pete, mate, he’s all good.” Something of a local legend, it would seem.

dirty deeds done dirt cheap

According to Bones and Paul, the pitfalls of pub gigs are often centred around (though naturally not limited to) the provision of sub-standard sound equipment and personnel by the hosting facility. “We arrived at the gig,” says Bones of a charity gig at a venue located a considerable distance from home for which the band had been assured the sound technician was a seasoned pro, “to discover that he only had two direct inputs to cater for a band of 10 instruments.” Several 80-foot lead cables had to be procured in order to link the stage to the sound desk. Dead pre-amps, sloping stages, spilled beverages and busted strings are only the tip of the iceberg, though inconsiderate venues can dampen a performer’s spirits too. “If you’re paying for the band, turn off the pokies and the big screen!” says Paul. “Don’t make us compete with the rugby.” Herein lies the conflict of interest between the band and the bar. “Pubs are there to sell booze,” Paul continues, “and the music is secondary to the selling of alcohol. It’s a pity that in New Zealand musicians are so tied to the pubs.” But such is the nature of the beast; opportunities to play outside of a pub context are limited and, whilst a mixed bag, pub gigs are by and large the best way for local Kiwi musicians to share their skills and enjoy an audience. On a good night, it’s hard to say who’s having a better time; the entertainers or the entertained. Bones recalls with resigned humour prolonged struggles with tinny sound equipment, the tedious trials of both under- and over-enthusiastic receptions from audiences, dangerous liaisons between instruments and beer, and a gig where a hasty pub-wide whip-round had to be organised in order just to pay the sound technician. Sarah Habershon is a journalist for grill and has more than a passing acquaintance with pubs and the bands that play in them.


Exhausted tuna

grill warning – carbon monoxide treated tuna; it’s out there! By John Clarke, resource editor


reshness is an important eating quality of tuna that is indicated by the bright red colour of the raw meat. This desirable colour should be due to oxygenated muscle pigments and not caused by carbon monoxide (CO) treatment. “CO tuna”, or “exhaust tuna” as we think it should be known, has undergone a harmless process according to the US Food and Drug Administration and our own Food Safety Authority (FSANZ). Well, the process may be harmless, but many countries including Japan, Canada and those in the European Union have banned the practice because of fears that it could be used to mask spoiled fish. Spoilage can still continue after fish is CO-treated, but the colour will remain that bright pinkish red. You could have this product in your chiller looking as fresh as a daisy, when in fact it is well past its useby date and potentially harbouring some very nasty bugs.

Untreated big eye tuna loin.

The question we have to ask is why anyone would treat tuna with carbon monoxide other than to disguise its quality? Perhaps because it is more appealing looking like a lump of pink fluorescent play dough – yeah right! So look for fresh tuna that has a deep red colour (untreated), not an unnatural bright pink colour (treated) and if a strange pink piece of tuna selling for less than the usual 30 bucks a kilo comes your way, just wonder why. Freshness is the single most important factor in ensuring great tasting fish. The colour of tuna varies from fish to fish because of diet, metabolism, oil content, age and species. Try the many varieties of tuna and enjoy their subtle differences. Opinion on carbon-monoxide-treated tuna is somewhat divided, but here at grill divided we are not – this is a bloody dangerous practice and should be banned!

Carbon monoxide treated tuna.

Top: CO Treated tuna front with untreated rear.



Southern Hospitality – a conversion

The Bar Nun takes the mission to the mainland.

Cartel – civilised

The prospect of luscious, leathery outdoor lounging entices the lone Nun to enter Cartel, nestled down a pedestrian alleyway off Lichfield Street. Plentiful couches, carpets, heaters and an open fire make the outdoor experience a pleasure. The music is an appropriate volume for mid-evening; the bar staff can actually hear what is ordered without the customer having to raise their voice. Sister’s tequila and tonic is scrumptiously strong; it’s a refreshing surprise to be served something other than Jose Cuevero. The well-presented bar boasts the second-largest selection of rum in New Zealand and the staff can recommend a variety of local beers such as Rogue Hop, an organic local pilsner. There will be live music later in the evening, as there is every night, and the doors remain open until 3am. Why don’t more managers understand that patrons like to converse over their drinks before the live act starts up? Sister was initially distressed to learn that Cartel does not offer any coffee or

food, but was placated when the staff explained that she could choose any dish from the menus of the surrounding restaurants and takeaways, and have them fetched by the bar staff at no extra charge. Now that’s a service.

Fat Eddie’s – and all that jazz

Immaculately themed in the style of the 1950s’ American jazz scene, right down to the little round tables only slightly too close together, Fat Eddie’s has only been open for three years but looks like it’s been here for 80. Sister is tempted to flash a garter as she peruses the cocktail-oriented bar, noting a number of American wines and the rare sight of Dom by the glass; there’s a focus here on premium product, but nothing stuffy about the atmosphere. Several quirky touches prevent the décor from falling into any sort of derivative groove (such as the humanoid bar stools and unconventional bathroom fittings), and Sister is secretly disappointed that late-night devotions

prevent her from lingering to sneak a peek at the live burlesque show beginning later in the evening.

Scotch Wine Bar – have a beer

Having arrived late and seriously in need of spiritual uplifting Father John and the Bar Nun decided that something with the words Scotch, wine and bar out front would do the trick. On entering, the Nun found that quite a congregation had gathered for a service given by grill’s very own priest of beer Geoff Griggs on the virtue of local artisan ales. No wine nor scotch was imbibed, but 15 local brews in all saw the light. The Bar Nun is pleased to report that these tasting services are a regular fixture and our missionaries are extending the faith. Scotch at 26 Maxwell Road, Blenheim has a relaxed atmosphere and a large outside dining and drinking area, with bean bags and a rather cool leather couch out front. The menu is tapas style and the coffee very good.





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