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Sean Connolly Returns to New Zealand to Open Esther at the QT Auckland

Sean Connolly Returns to New Zealand to Open Esther at the QT Auckland

Award-winning chef Sean Connolly marks his return to the country with the opening of Esther. Lovingly named after his grandmother and inspired by summers in the South of France, Connolly's new eatery brings together the flavours of the Mediterranean in a gorgeous marina-side setting. 

Sean Connolly Returns to New Zealand to Open Esther at the QT Auckland

What’s a kitchen rule you always break?

Clean as you go! It’s always a state by the end of the day.

What’s your go-to dish at the end of a long day?

White sliced bread, cold roast chicken, chicken jelly (everyone always throws this out, but it’s where all the flavour is) and sage and onion stuffing. Everything is cold, with mayo and English mustard. Very quick.

What ingredients do you love to cook with?

Lemon, sea salt and olive oil are my go to. Butter is one I overuse in everything, to my family’s disgust!

What are your 5 must-have pantry staples? 

Anchovies, a good Dijon mustard, eggs, cheese and white pepper.

Where did your love of cooking come from?

My grandmother was one of the greatest cooks I’ve known – her name was also Esther. She was a great storyteller with a sense of humour and loud laugh, and she was a strong inspiration for my career as a chef.

Which kitchen gadget can’t you live without?

A wooden sieving mushroom. I was given it and I just love it! It’s a rare tool not often seen but you use it to get the smoothest mash potatoes you’ve ever tasted by using it to push the lumps through a sieve.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt recently?

The importance of planning! With being separated from the team due to COVID-19, we really had to embrace Zooms, Facetimes and emails so that when we could hit the ground running, we were rearing to go and could get stuck into it.

Where will we find you this summer?

At the beach, every day. I like to swim at sunset or high tide – the minerals of the ocean are good for the soul and the mind!

If you could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would you choose?

Johnny Cash, Elvis and Jools Holland.

Favourite hidden gem in the Mediterranean?


Esther is now open at the QT Auckland, 4 Viaduct Harbour Ave, Auckland. 

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