Fave table: Ange Fitzharris - actor, chef, nanny
AS TOLD TO BESS MANSON
I've worn a lot of different hats in my life. I've been a pastry chef, a waitress, a nanny and an actor - my main role these days.
When I waited tables it was at Elements Cafe and I still come here long after I worked my last shift. I've always kind of liked their ethos - sustainability, commitment to using local produce and generally being eco-friendly.
Mostly I'll order the steak or the fish of the day. They line catch their fish so I know I'm eating responsibly sourced food. Right now the fish of the day is tarakihi served with a warm potato, green bean and fresh herb salad with crispy capers and a salsa verde.
I suppose the thing I like as much as the food is the family atmosphere. The people are genuinely friendly. I started out in the kitchen and made it to the front of house before my acting career took a leap forward.
I'm not sure where the acting bug came from. None of my family are anything remotely connected to the arts. My mum is a sergeant at airport security and my dad is the chief inspector for the Department of Corrections. Not exactly thespian roots.
I remember my first gig. I was 6 years old and I had to throw a bunch of daffodils into the air and catch them for a Lotto ad. I guess that's when the seed was sown.
I've dipped in and out of acting. I trained as a pastry chef knowing paid acting jobs were hard to come by. You have to have a fallback. But acting is definitely my first love.
There's something exhilarating about pretending to be someone else. Plus, you get to play dress-ups. Everyone likes dressing up, right?
I like the challenge of becoming someone else. And I've been all sorts: An emotional wreck, a school whore. I'm about to play the southern belle daughter of the local sheriff who has got herself into a bit of trouble in a musical play written, composed and directed by Joshua Hopton Stewart.
Little Town Liars is best described as a 1950s chaotic mash of drugs, pregnancy, aliens, murder, and infidelity set in Louisiana. Getting the accent was tricky. I've always struggled with accents so I really had to work at this one. Hopefully I've nailed it.
I've watched a lot of True Blood and I've spent hours on YouTube listening to anything being said by anyone with a southern twang. I always bombard my boyfriend, who I share a flat with in Newtown, with whatever accent I'm working on.
I've tried this southern lilt out in public recently, like at cafes and restaurants and at parties to see if they buy it. Sometimes people even throw it back at you and reply with the same accent. That's a good laugh.
When I'm on a break from rehearsals I often frequent J J Murphy's. I like to sit in a booth with a beer or have a dance to a live band. It's cheap and cheerful and close by the theatre.
When it comes to coffee I head to Smith The Grocers in the Old Bank Arcade. They do great home baking, just like your mum would make.
I like to do a lot of my own cooking. Being a pastry chef I can whip up a good meal. I still do a bit of nannying and I'm teaching my two charges, aged 2 and 4, how to cook. There are so many people who can't scramble an egg so I think the earlier you learn, the more interested you'll be in eating good food.
Elements Cafe, 144 Onepu Rd, Lyall Bay, Wellington.
Phone: 939 1292
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 8.30am-5pm; Wednesday-Saturday, 5.30pm-late.
Little Town Liars opens tomorrow and runs till February 15, BATS' new location theatre, upstairs, corner of Cuba and Dixon streets.
- © Fairfax NZ News