Theatrical dish coasts into Dine award final

TOM HUNT
Last updated 12:04 21/07/2014
Samuel North
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ
YOUNG WINNER: Muse on Allen owner and head chef Samuel North is one of five finalists in the Visa Wellington on a Plate Award.

Relevant offers

Capital Day

Stop motion space oddity an off-'Phish'-al celebration of casual creativity Maori culture meets French culture in the White Face Crew's Kia Mau Festival clown show Othello reimagined by maori man and his masks Celebrity cosplayers Eve Beauregard and Tine Marie Riis add some geek chic Steampunk food van heating up the capital with free food for the famished Scientific explorations in the Hutt appeal to curious young minds NZ Art Show: A return to the old favourites for Wellington sculptor Donated shoes will keep Wellingtonian toes warm this winter Monsters to be brought to life at Wellington Armageddon Expo Karori Medical Centre uses a website allowing patients to get advice and check records online

The weird guy collecting seaweed and stones on Wellington's south coast is really, truly, one of Wellington's top chefs.

Samuel North, 23, the head chef and owner of Muse on Allen in central Wellington, has had his restaurant nominated as one of five finalists in the Visa Wellington on a Plate Award.

The finalists are announced today. He is up against Wellington hospitality royalty in the form of Boulcott St Bistro and Duke Carvell's, as well as the super-hip Little Beer Quarter and Ti Kouka.

Despite his age, North is going into the competition with form - he won the Wellington on a Plate Award last year.

The win had a huge impact on his business. Suddenly, customer numbers went from about 20 a night to 60-80 and he had to double staff numbers. "We found our niche, really. People didn't know what we were doing. People thought we were fine dining but we weren't - we have a really relaxed atmosphere."

For this year's competition he is serving "oysters vichyssoise" - a plate largely inspired by the Wellington south coast, where he lives. The dish involves seaweed, stones and pebbles, which he sources from Lyall Bay. "I walk to the beach to get a bucket of seaweed. People think I'm pretty weird."

Back at the restaurant he adds "sand" - made with egg whites - and dry ice. Then comes the crucial (and arguably most edible) ingredient - oysters in a shell.

He describes the entree as a "theatrical kind of food".

For the main, he is taking a creative angle on the traditional beef Wellington, using lamb.

Dine Wellington is Wellington on a Plate's centrepiece, and has almost 100 Wellington restaurants designing set-menu lunches and dinners showcasing the region's produce and suppliers.

The Wellington on a Plate Award is given to the restaurant with the best Dine Wellington menu. This year's finalists will be judged by top Australian chef Alla Wolf-Tasker, Wellington Culinary Trust chief executive Sarah Meikle and Mindfood editor-in- chief Michael McHugh.

The winner will be announced on August 11.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content