New Zealand's most famous dishes

16:00, Dec 29 2012
ruth pretty
Ruth Pretty's roast chicken sandwiches are always popular.

DALE GARTLAND, group executive chef at Kauri Cliffs, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers and Matakauri Lodge

"As we change the menu daily at the lodges, there are a few iconic dishes but I would say my crayfish and scallop raviolo with saffron bisque is up there. The inspiration came from English chef Michael Caines, who I worked with at Gidleigh Park over 10 years ago in the first instance, and then tweaking the dish using great New Zealand seafood and saffron.

"I like it because it tastes so good - the delicate seafood with a light but intense saffron bisque is a great match and it also reminds me of my time spent at Gidleigh Park. It shows off great produce, depth of flavours and good skill in pasta and sauce making. We have had guests request them every day or extras for main courses and even instead of dessert.

Bevan Smith
Chef Bevan Smith's a fan of salmon with potatoes and a green salad.

"It's been on the menu really since 2004 throughout all of our lodges and continues to be a popular dish now.

"One of my favourite dishes by another New Zealand chef is Peter Gordon's kumara and miso mash. I first tasted it in London seven years ago and I have it when I go to [Gordon's Auckland restaurant] Dine. It was just so different when I tasted it and it's consistently the same. A close second is his coconut laksa with green tea noodles."

RUTH PRETTY, Ruth Pretty Catering and Ruth Pretty Cooking School


Dale Gartland says his crayfish and scallop raviolo with saffron bisque shows depth of flavours.

"What is my most iconic dish? This is difficult to answer as I have been cooking for a long time so I have iconic dishes from eras. Think coconut-battered fish and banana kebabs from the eighties as an example. However, for the last 10 years more people have eaten roast chicken, herb stuffing and crispy bacon sandwiches than any other dish we have made. The recipe is in Ruth Pretty Cooks at Home. Despite what people say, everyone loves a tasty sandwich so think a roast chicken dinner in a little sandwich.

"The inspiration came 10 years ago when Michael Lee-Richards, Christchurch chef and former owner of White Tie Catering, ran the combination out of his head. He is a very creative thinker and I put it to test in our test kitchen.

"I like it because it has such a combination of textures and flavours and everyone loves a really tasty little sandwich.

Chef Al Brown's paua buttie is only found in New Zealand.

"One of my favourite dishes by another New Zealand chef is Al Brown's/Kyle Street's snapper tacos."

BEVAN SMITH, chef at Riverstone Kitchen, Oamaru

"Probably the most iconic dish we serve is our hot-smoked salmon with new potatoes, salad greens and creme fraiche. The ingredients themselves are the inspiration. We get fantastic salmon from nearby Mt Cook, which we smoke fresh each day and we serve it with Totara new potatoes and salad greens straight from our own gardens. The creme fraiche just finishes it off completely.

"I like it because it's incredibly simple and yet the flavours are amazing. I also like the fact that it is seasonal and local and makes the most of what our region has to offer.

"Our guests like the freshness of the salmon. It's light but satisfying and it always leaves you wanting to order it again.

"We always put it on our menu in summer when all the ingredients are at their peak and we've served it since we opened six years ago.

"A favourite dish by another New Zealand chef is Al Brown's [Depot] snapper sliders with preserved lemon mayo and watercress. I like the freshness, simplicity, flavours and they're exceptional value for money."

AL BROWN, chef and owner of Depot Eatery and Oyster Bar

"My most iconic dish would be a fresh paua buttie. It is something that screams "only in New Zealand". It is also a constant reminder of how lucky we are to have a coastline where any person in the country has the ability to gather fresh shellfish to cook for whanau and friends.

"I love this dish, as I can dive for the paua, shuck them then and there, then build a fire and cook the dish in a skillet over the hot coals. Everything is cooked in the same skillet then stuffed between two slices of fresh white bread.

"Guests like it because of the process of gathering, preparing and cooking at the source. It's all about people and place. It's also about celebrating who we are and where we live. The simplicity of it is what makes it so wonderful.

"As for other New Zealand chefs, any dish that Fleur Sullivan makes will always be a favourite of mine. She cooks fresh seafood with the touch of an angel."

Sunday Star Times