Cook celebrates fresh produce
"I love Marlborough and New Zealand produce and the seasons that mother nature gives us with the different flavours and tastes," Chris Fortune says.
"But I hate the fact that Chinese garlic is being sold in our local supermarkets when we are the best garlic-producing region in the world."
As president of the Marlborough Farmers' Market, he is juggling his responsibilities here with those of raising his young family, and said his children – Kacey, 8, and Holly, 4 – are both already keen cooks.
"They're not afraid to peel, cut, grate or cook dinner with us," he said.
"They help mum in the garden and these are skills that will become invaluable later in life."
He remembers his own experiences of cooking as a child with fondness, saying his favourite chef moment came when he was 12, cooking mussels and cockles on the beach over an open fire, using a piece of corrugated iron as a skillet.
"I still remember the taste – and the sand and grit in the seafood," he said.
"It is often the simplest things that you remember the most."
This year, his enthusiasm will be channelled into overseeing the Taste Farmers' Markets New Zealand awards being held nationwide from the Bay of Islands to Bluff.
The awards would be "celebrating 50 farmers' markets and the real food producers who depend on them as our way of selling the produce they have grown or produced", he said.
"I'm also looking forward to doing more cooking demos in schools and at the Havelock mussel festival using the school gardens as a catalyst to encourage children to cook at home using simple techniques and some fun."
More immediately, he will be spending the rest of his holidays with more relaxing pursuits.
"I'll be swimming at the pool and river, as well as painting the outside of the house," he said.
"I have to say I'd rather be in the pool, though."
The Marlborough Express