Justin North shares his skills
Former Blenheim man Justin North is among a group of Australia's most talented chefs who will be sharing their culinary prowess at the 30th annual Marlborough Wine and Food Festival tomorrow.
The chefs, who are being hosted by Marlborough seafood company Cloudy Bay Clams, will present a seminar and discuss the latest food trends in Sydney and Melbourne.
Mr North, a former Marlborough Boys' College student, is the consultant chef to the Pullman Hotel group and author of two books, Becasse and French Lessons.
He has worked in leading restaurants in Sydney and England, including Le Manoir Quat Saison in Oxfordshire. He was named the Sydney Morning Herald's chef of the year in 2007 at his former Sydney restaurant, Becasse.
But Mr North was modest about the accolade, attributing it to a reflection of the talented team he had worked with.
He said becoming a chef was originally an excuse to leave school.
"Me and a friend wanted to leave school but mum and dad said I still had to do something worthwhile," he said. "So we went to the careers adviser at school. We had a look at doing hospitality and thought, ‘oh, there'll be heaps of girls in it', so funnily enough, that's the reason we went for it."
Cloudy Bay Clams marketing manager Dion Brown said they had organised an itinerary for the chefs which would have them experience a day of diving and fishing in the Marlborough Sounds as well as a look at the company's clam fishing operation.
"It's about giving them a sense of where we come from and what we do," Mr Brown said.
"It's also a thank you to them because they're all customers of ours from Australia."
Other chefs taking part in the seminar include celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge from the cooking show series My Kitchen Rules, 2013 Australian young chef of the year Louis Tikaram, and Matt Wilkinson, co-owner of popular Melbourne eatery Pope Joan and produce store Hams and Bacon. The chefs will be accompanied by Australian seafood expert John Susman.
The seminar from 1.20 to 1.55pm in the Culinary Pavilion is free to festival ticket-holders.
The Marlborough Express