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Wellington On A Plate: Chef Talks

We catch up with some local chefs ahead of Wellington on a Plate's annual culinary festival.

Wellington On A Plate: Chef Talks

GLEN TAYLOR: TAYLORS ON JACKSON

What is your favourite way to spend a lazy day off?
Coffee, followed by a visit to the city markets for a naughty bacon-and-egg buttie; I’ll also grab some stinky cheese and lovely bread for later on, to park up at Petone foreshore with bottle of wine to watch the sunset.

Best place for brunch?
Cafe Polo or Taste Khandallah – the feel of them is just right for a lazy weekend and the food is exactly what it needs to be: approachable and well executed.

Best place for a drink?
We are incredibly spoilt in Wellington: from the iconic Matterhorn for a cocktail or wine and Hashigo Zake for a cold craft beer right through to the Empire in Petone for a pint and a pickled egg.

Best place to shop for produce?
Yellowbrick Road at the city markets for the most amazing seafood; Prestons for the friendliness and great meat; and Moore Wilsons for basically everything else. There are also so many local spots in wellington where you can pick your own wild produce such as samphire, beach spinach and elderflowers.

Best thing about Wellington?
The landscape, the people, the food and bar scene, the coffee.

How would you describe your food philosophy?
To be use the best local produce and really showcase it, treat it with the respect that it deserves.

What’s your favourite dish on the menu at Taylors on Jackson?
Our guests really love the “BFG” lemon meringue pie cheesecake. We deconstruct a cheesecake and a lemon meringue pie then mash them back together in a jar with little meringues resembling clouds, fluorescent rocks resembling dreams, which sparkle in your mouth. It’s a lot of fun and gets amazing reactions from our guests.

DARREN SHEAD: CHARLEY NOBLE

What is your favourite way to spend a lazy day off?
I enjoy tending to my veggie garden and my chickens. The eggs I collect, I share with neighbours and friends and they make a great omelette. I also use them for baking. I love banana bread and anything with real custard.

Best place for brunch?
When I can, I go up to Taste Restaurant in Khandallah. David and Gary make a potent Bloody Mary and my favourite brunch there is the chicken and bacon sandwich with vindaloo mayo.

Best place for a drink?
Havana Bar. The staff are always friendly and welcoming, they serve great drinks, the people are mellow and the music is fresh.

Best place to shop for produce?
Ontrays on a Saturday is humming. The produce is fresh and seasonal, the vendors have great knowledge and passion for what they grow and sell. It’s an inspiring place to visit.

Best thing about Wellington?
The people. We know what we like. We have great coffee, festivals and events; there’s always something happening.

How would you describe your food philosophy?
Fresh, seasonal produce and quality ingredients.

What’s your favourite dish on the menu at Charley Noble?
Oysters, oysters, oysters. Right now it’s all about the Bluff, but I also love Stewart Islands and Mahurangi, supplied to us by Rachel from Yellow Brick Road.

ONDINE MCLEOD: ARTHUR’S

What is your favourite way to spend a lazy day off?

If it’s sunny I’ll head to my favourite South Coast beach, Tarekena Bay, hunting for beach glass, swimming, seal meeting and indulging in old-fashioned bakery goodness from Supreme Bakery in Miramar.

Best place for brunch?
Cafe Baobob in Newtown stands out. It’s excellent food that isn’t boring or weird. The surroundings are unpretentious and comfortable and the staff are super friendly but not over the top.

Best place for a drink?
Table 8, in the front stripy room, upstairs, after everybody’s gone. Or, Hawthorne Lounge. I love it there because I never know what I feel like but the boys behind the bar there always do.

Best place to shop for produce?
Ever since we opened Martha’s Pantry about eight years ago, my family have gone to Victoria St veggie market every Sunday morning to procure most of our fruit and vegetables; recently I have started going to the Newtown markets on Saturday. I hunt for something super special to bring back for show and tell. It could be a tiny, perfectly formed, unblemished piece of fruit or something from a far away place that I’ve never seen before.

Best thing about Wellington?
The best (and occasionally the worst) thing about Wellington is her village-like geography and small-town character. There is a strong sense of loyalty; we like to help, rather than hinder, each other. It’s almost like a big, crazy extended family.

How would you describe your food philosophy?
I just love feeding people and I want to make them what they want to eat. I hate to dictate to customers what they should eat and I love to deviate from the menu; I just want to make people happy.

Favourite dish on the menu at Arthur’s?
I love burgers; there’s something satisfying about making something so simple that is mass-produced all over the world, but making it the best that someone’s ever had. If all the components are homemade with care and love, how can you go wrong?

One of the more interesting menu items (unless you’re a Southerner) is Cheese Rolls – super hot buttery, oozy oniony cheesey white bread rolls, It’s probably the recipe I give out the most (and sometimes get given, some South Islanders are VERY particular about their cheese rolls!)

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