We just can't get enough of Auckland's thriving foodie scene—nor the people behind it! Enter Scottish-born Chris Law who now runs the helm of one of our faves, Auckland's Soul Bar & Bistro. We recently caught up with him to find out what he loves about our fair city, his fav eats, and where he gets his inspo from.
Many years ago during a working holiday to NZ, I met my future wife who returned to Scotland with me where we lived for a few years and had a young family. After one too many Scottish summers, we decided to move back to Auckland and settle with a view to giving the kids a much more active outdoor lifestyle. We have now been here for almost 7 years.
What is your favourite place in Auckland to enjoy breakfast?
As it is walking distance from home, any of the numerous great cafes in and around Browns Bay usually. Also, cooking a hearty breakfast at home on the weekend is something that I really enjoy.
What do you do for relaxation?
I really enjoy watching the kids taking part in their various sporting activities. I love spending time at the beach during summer. I am also a keen but very average golfer so any time on the course for me is a great way to relax.
Where was the last place you went out for dinner and what did you think?
The last place that I ate was Depot for a casual afternoon lunch. As usual, the food that we had was fantastic.
Thinking back though, last year we had a research trip to San Francisco, The stand out restaurant there was State Bird Provisions, very interesting, modern and unbelievably tasty.
If you’re out for drinks with friends, where do you love to go?
Without a doubt, The Deep Creek Brewery on Browns Bay beach front. They brew a variety of their own beers and ciders which are fantastic, as well as having a great beer garden with great views right opposite the skate park and playground where the kids can play.
When friends visit Auckland, where is your first stop?
As most of my visiting friends and family usually arrive from the UK, we tend to hit the obvious tourist spots such as the Skytower, The Viaduct Harbour and Waiheke. The last time my Mum came to visit, she instantly fell in love with Devonport.
Where do you get your food inspo from?
Mostly from reading books and food magazines. However, in this age of social media, pages on Instagram and Facebook are a great way to keep an eye on what’s trending at the moment. I would love to have the time to eat out a bit more, there are so many great places that I have yet to visit and many more that I would love to go back to.
Also, we are heading to Chicago and Los Angeles in a few months where we will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, sometimes two dinners every day! Its a great way to see what is trending at the moment .
Do you have a mentor, and if so, who?
I don’t really have a mentor as such, but I do have a huge respect and admiration for all of the great chefs that I have worked with over the years.
Were you always interested in food?
I would have to say no, not really, however, as I was growing up, my Mum was always and still is a very talented and keen cook.
When/why did you decide to become a chef?
By accident I suppose. After finishing at school, I spent a summer working in a local country house hotel as a general helper. During this time I watched the chefs working and thought that they were the bees knees. Around that time I really fancied having a crack at it.
What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?
In my younger years, the biggest challenge for me was dealing with the long and antisocial working hours and realising that hopefully one day that all the hard work and sacrifice would pay off.
What’s your go-to comfort dish?
Definitely a big bowl of spicy ramen. I love all Japanese food!
What’s the best thing about being a chef?
I suppose like many professions, it’s about doing something that you really enjoy every day.
If you weren’t a chef, what else would you be?
I’m not sure how things would have turned out otherwise. I think I would have really enjoyed a career in some sort of design and engineering. Definitely something that involved using my hands.
What piece of advice would you give to people who missed the cooking gene?
Don’t be afraid to taste and try any new, different or unusual foods. You may surprise yourself!
What are your long term career plans?
I think the most important thing is to continue enjoying what you do and to always welcome new challenges and experiences!
The Urban List team are coming for dinner, what will you be cooking for us?
As it's summer, it would definitely have to be a BBQ! A favourite of mine is harissa marinated Hawkes bay lamb racks served some garlic yoghurt labne. Perfect with some grilled courgettes and a fresh tomato, herb and green bean salad, all from my wife’s veggie garden!
Want more? Get the deets on Chris' Soul Bar and Bistro