Al Brown, one of the country's best-known chefs, found out about his Queen's Birthday honour as he was busy prepping a salmon dish for a 400-person charity event.
When the confidential envelope arrived in the mail at home, the curiosity was too much for his 12-year-old daughter to handle and she promptly rang her dad, who was prepping plate after plate of gravlax, and asked to open it.
''There were some whoops and screams and things in the background. It was really hard to comprehend really.
''I love what I do and if people think I'm contributing to the rich fabric of the hospitality scene. I'm totally proud of that.''
Mr Brown has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services as a chef. As well as co-owning Logan Brown restaurant, presenting television shows and writing about food, he has recently opened an award-winning Auckland restaurant.
There were exciting projects just around the corner, he said.
''I think it's like any awards that you get, it's never about just yourself, it's about all the people who helped you along the way, so hopefully people will feel a nice feeling about that as well. I've always surrounded myself with really talented people.''
He said he rarely had time to indulge in his passion of fishing, though he loved having so many projects on the go.
''I've just got lots on and it's really exciting. I simply enjoy it and I love the country and I love promoting the country any way I can. Food to me is all about bringing people together.''
He and his wife share the cooking at their Lyall Bay home and a favourite meal is a simple dish of corned beef with kumara mash.
- © Fairfax NZ News