Auckland’s foodie scene is buzzing—ask any local and they’ll be happy to share their fav restaurant or café that’s become their go-to spot for great food. And behind every great restaurant there’s a great chef and The Urban List is on the hunt to find out a little bit more about them.
My family was based in Wellington and worked there for a while. However, I preferred the weather in Auckland and the buzz of the city. Auckland has a clientele willing to experiment and try new things. It's also a melange of cultures and cuisines and that is a great source of inspiration for me.
What do you do for relaxation?
Spend time with my family at home, cook or eat out and relax with a good bottle of wine.
Where was the last place you went out for dinner and what did you think?
Apero on K Road. I love everything about the place. Ismo has a well thought out wine list and Leslie does amazing things behind the stove.
If you’re out for drinks with friends, where do you love to go?
Mea Culpa in Ponsonby; love their cocktails.
The next morning, where to for hangover food?
Chop Chop for their Korean fried chicken. Hangover = spicy fried chicken.
When friends visit Auckland, where is your first stop?
Kumeu to check out the vineyards, relax with some cheese and wine and have lunch or dinner at The Tasting Shed.
Where do you get your food inspo from?
I travel whenever I can, I read a lot and follow what other chefs are doing overseas. The biggest inspiration comes from the seasonal produce we have in NZ.
Do you have a mentor, and if so, who?
No, I don’t have a mentor.
What’s your first food memory?
Eating Parathas (stuffed unleavened bread) at my grandmother’s house in India. She would stuff them with spicy potatoes or cauliflower and serve them with a dollop of homemade butter.
When/why did you decide to become a chef?
I entered hospitality school and decided I wanted to be a chef rather than pursue any other avenues in hospitality. I was drawn to food and working in the kitchen.
Worst cooking moment ever?
At training college I once accidentally put in salt instead of sugar while baking a carrot cake. Another time I was asked to make a walnut sponge and got all the proportions wrong. Needless to say it was a rock hard disaster.
What’s your go-to comfort dish?
Roast chicken with veggies. Cliché but so soothing.
What’s the best thing about being a chef?
Seeing people push themselves, trying something out of their comfort zone and absolutely loving it…that expression of delight is the best thing for me.
If you weren’t a chef, what else would you be?
I would probably be a pro tennis player.
Best cooking skill all people should master?
Seasoning…nothing tastes good without it.
TUL team are coming for dinner at your house—what will you cook us?
Probably an intimate and relaxed 5 course meal showcasing my favourite dishes from the Sidart and Cassia menus.
Want more of the best eats in Auckland? Check out 15 Of Auckland's Best Breakfasts You Must Try