After five years of being the executive chef of the Marlborough Convention Centre and the Scenic Marlborough Hotel, it is time to hang up my apron.
Hand on heart, it has been an exciting, stimulating, frustrating, funny, busy, fast-paced, eye-opening and fascinating journey, from the first day standing in the middle of a concrete shell that was to be the kitchen, to showcasing Marlborough produce on the menus for tens of thousands of people that have been passed through.
Over the past five years I have had the opportunity to work with a group of passionate, dedicated and professional people and I take my hat off to them all, from my suppliers to the management team.
One of the best attributes of leading a kitchen is the ability to choose and work with staff you want on your team, and there have been dozens of them over the years.
Two of them stand out as extra special: Jordan Shallcrass from Marlborough Girls' College and Jamie Perrott from Marlborough Boys' College. Both are young, passionate and articulate in all they do, not just in the kitchen but with what they are involved in around the community. Jamie is leading the college's culinary team to Auckland, where they will compete in the School Boys Competition at the biggest culinary fair in New Zealand on August 19.
A screening of Le Chef is the Marlborough Boys' fundraiser to send the team to Auckland. It will be screening on August 2 at Top Town cinemas at 6.30pm. Tickets are $20, and include nibbles that the boys will make. You can buy tickets from the cinema, Marlborough Farmers' Market or Marlborough Boys' College.
Le Chef is a delicious new treat from the producers of The Artist, and stars Jean Reno (who is more famous for playing the bad guy in international blockbusters rather than a chef) in this French comedy.
This is a opportunity for everybody to support the future of Marlborough's rising stars in the culinary world.
The college is not asking for a million dollars - it is looking for $20 per movie ticket, and you get a great night out, nibbles, and the knowledge that the future of Marlborough cuisine and food production is safe in the hands of rising hospitality stars like Jamie.
FRENCH APPLE TART
250g made-with-butter flaky puff pastry
4 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin wedges
250ml apricot jam, melted over a gentle heat
Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll the pastry out into a 28cm diameter round. Brush the edge with water and fold it in by 2cm all around. Prick the inside of the tart with a fork.
Place the apple wedges evenly inside the raised border of the tart.
Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until very well cooked.
Remove from the oven and liberally brush the jam all over the tart, leaving no gaps. Place back in the oven until bubbling and browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot or warm with whipped cream.
- The Marlborough Express