Travel talk: Josh Emett

03:22, Nov 06 2012
Travel talk Josh Emett
EAT NOW, PAY LATER: We often spent 600 quid on dinner, then camped so we could afford it.

Michelin-starred Kiwi chef Josh Emett rates Australasian cuisine up there with the best in the world. From his Queenstown restaurant Rata to masterclasses in the foothills of Australia’s Victorian Alps, Emett puts his singular spin on recipes gathered on his global travels.

How often do you get away? I travel constantly but not a lot of booked holidays – I usually try to grab a few days when I can wherever I am.

Where was your first trip? I first left New Zealand when I was 16, on a trip to Australia. Our parents told us they were taking us up to Auckland for the weekend and I did not want to go; had a massive bustup before they threw me in the car and said I had to. Dad did not tell us until the Manukau turnoff that we were going to Aussie.

Why do you travel – business or pleasure? Both. I travel a lot for work and then plan huge trips for pleasure that are often based on food, restaurants and eating.

What is your favourite destination overseas? France has always been a special place for me. I have spent a lot of time there, especially in Haute-Savoie.

And in New Zealand? I love Queenstown, where I have just opened my restaurant, Rata. The whole region really ticks all boxes for me.


Best trip ever? A two-month 8050-kilometre driving adventure from London through France, Spain, back through France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and back through France again. I had restaurants booked the whole way. We often went out and spent 600 quid on dinner at Michelin-starred restaurants, then camped for the night so we could afford it.

Worst? A trip to Mexico a few years ago, where nothing seemed to go right for us – had to change hotels three times. We still had a great time, though.

If you could be anywhere but here, where would that be?
Lake Annecy in France, or upstate New York is amazing as well.

What is the wildest sight you’ve witnessed while travelling? A shot-up car in Turkey that had just happened before we got to the village with army guys everywhere. Any day in New York you always see something bizarre going on – great people-watching.

The most heartbreaking? I hate littering. Seeing people throwing rubbish all over their own doorstep is never a good look.

Who (or what) is your favourite travelling companion? I have spent a lot of time travelling with my wife and my family over the years – in particular, my brother Zach and sister Bec; we always have a bloody good laugh together.

Where to next? Strangely enough, I will be driving from London to Spain for Christmas again this year – we’ll spend some time in Toulouse and then south of Barcelona.

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The Dominion Post