Boat Shed Chef pursues next food venture
A Nelson chef is moving from the ocean to the mainland with a new Mediterranean restaurant venture.
Boat Shed Cafe head chef Takeshi Nagahama is leaving the waterfront restaurant and will open a new Spanish restaurant on the former Abbey Garden Bar & Cafe site in Appleby in November.
Nagahama has worked as a chef for 18 years in Japan, Spain and South America, but he said New Zealand posed the best environment for his restaurant dream.
"It's always a chef's dream to open a restaurant and to cook what you want to cook," he said.
"I've learnt what Kiwi people like, food is more a thing of enjoyment [in New Zealand] but people are putting more importance on it now."
He is leasing the building, which is an old chapel. The building is currently being renovated by its owner who will also be opening an art and antique gallery on the same site.
"The inside [of the chapel] is changing quite a lot, it's been abandoned for two years," he said.
The Spanish restaurant will be appropriately named La Capilla, which translates to chapel in Spanish.
The food would be Mediterranean styled, and Nagahama intends to utilise the fresh produce from around the region.
Nagahama worked as head chef at the Boat Shed Cafe for five years, and while he was sad to say goodbye to the establishment he felt good to leave it in capable hands.
"I'm happy because we've made a very nice team and now I can leave knowing there is a good team here."
He wants to focus on good service at his new restaurant which he says can be just as important as the food itself.
"My main purpose is to make people happy while they eat, it will be a nice, casual atmosphere," he said.
Boat Shed Cafe owner Daniel Monopoli is also planning to open a new joint in Mapua similar to his current restaurant and cafe. The building is currently being renovated and Monopoli expects to be open in November.