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Five Minutes with Alain Hauswirth

This month he’s in charge of feeding 
120 people a top-notch three-course lunch at the ninth annual 
Pinot at Cloudy Bay tasting in Marlborough.

Five Minutes with Alain Hauswirth

This month he’s in charge of feeding 
120 people a top-notch three-course lunch at the ninth annual 
Pinot at Cloudy Bay tasting in Marlborough.

What made you choose a career in food?

I was always hungry. Food, for me, represents travel, different tastes, interesting people, conversation, joy, love and pleasure. It’s the whole package.

When did you first cater for the Pinot at Cloudy Bay event?

I started cooking at Cloudy Bay around 2002 but my first pinot event was last year.

What’s the biggest challenge when cooking for 120 fellow food and wine purists?

It’s a team effort, so a lot goes into the planning and co-ordinating of staff. As I’m very particular, I always taste everything before it leaves the kitchen. Once I’m convinced it will be a success and appreciated by the crowd, it’s allowed to be served.

What ingredients are you excited to be using and how did you choose them to match the pinot noirs?

I’m still working on the final menu but it will certainly incorporate fresh fish such as John Dory, groper and gurnard from Marlborough Sounds. I will possibly serve that with lentils and a cucumber and lime salsa. The main will be slow-cooked duck with orange ravioli.

I want to create firm flavours that are not overpowering, as the pinot noirs should remain the main attraction.

What’s your overall approach to matching food and wine?

I follow my gut feeling. I ask myself, “What would I love to eat with this wine? What food would make me want to have another glass of wine with it?” I try to create contrast between the food and the wine so they complement each other.

What do you love about New Zealand food?

The fact that I can talk to the person at the origin of the product I’m after and I can cut out the middleman to source great ingredients.

What would you choose for your last meal?

Curry fish-head soup from a street stall somewhere in Asia.

If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would it be?

I presume my wife would be there too, so I’d invite actor Halle Berry.

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