Peter Gordon has a lot on his plate

BUSY MAN: Peter Gordon is launching a new cookbook.
BUSY MAN: Peter Gordon is launching a new cookbook.

From a book launch here to a charity event in London and then time spent on marae, it's a busy life for celebrity chef Peter Gordon.

For someone who owns award-winning restaurants at opposite sides of the world, is in demand as a food and restaurant consultant, has seven cookbooks to his credit, writes for NZ House & Garden and the NZ Herald, and is a major fundraiser for charity, Peter Gordon has developed a convincing "au naturel" laid-back style.

Today he has a "a bit of a head". Seems the night before, Bellota Tapas Bar in Auckland's Sky City hotel was where his new cookbook was launched with a function on the footpath and Gordon was cooking Spanish rice specialities, "Yes, on the street. Great fun".

He has flown to Christchurch for another book launch complete with cooking demonstration.

Then it's back to London and the pre-Christmas madness of his restaurants in Marylebone and Covent Garden and a charity fundraising event. After that it's back to New Zealand for Christmas with family and friends.

Does he ever sleep?

"Not much. I don't do too many holidays either. Life is busy and I love it."

And cooking? Does he still get into his chef whites with all this rush rush all the time?

"I do. Not as much as I would like, but during the London Olympics I cooked and cooked! We were working 70-hour weeks.

"Actually, it's got a bit easier lately," he admits. "For the first time I have a personal assistant. She does everything - makes appointments, organises photos, takes care of my diary.

He says he enjoyed writing Everyday his latest book. " I just tapped away at nights on my laptop. It is about home cooking and [is] a nice homely book." His favourite recipes in the book are the chillied beef and cashew stew on page 190 - "everyone should know how to make a great stew". And the raspberry ripple ice cream, (page 238) "no machine needed".

At the book launch in London the who's who attending included those who had possibly never eaten canned spaghetti on toast, or maybe they didn't recognise it as Gordon presented the "delicacy" in canape form. He laughs as he recalls the editor of The Times saying, "My word, these are good, what's in them?"

"I told them it was a New Zealand classic."

Gordon has an enthusiastic appetite and a well-honed appreciation of good food. Convinced hs headache will disappear as soon as he has lunch, he orders tempura salmon followed by slow braised lamb. "Mmm very good, very, very good" he murmurs, which will have pleased those in the kitchen at 50 Bistro. "I don't like fussy foods and this is just right, and doesn't the glass of Bolly go well with everything?"

His next New Zealand project is a television show in conjunction with TV3 . Fusion Feasts will see Gordon on different marae, injecting new techniques into traditional dishes, and developing new recipes using indigenous foods. "We've done a lot of work already, he says, then laughs as he admits not everyone was thrilled with his new dishes. "The old ladies shuddered when I said we'll do kina with a dip, but in the end they kind of liked the new flavours."

Everyday's 170 dishes run the gamut from breakfast to baking, and for all that Gordon tags it as "homely" there is plenty of evidence reflecting his "passion for innovative flavours and textures in an everyday setting".


HarperCollins $49.99

The Press