Chef Hawkes sets national recipe

SET THE RECIPE: Invercargill chef Graham Hawkes, of Paddington Arms restaurant, has been re-elected as the president of the NZChefs Association.
SET THE RECIPE: Invercargill chef Graham Hawkes, of Paddington Arms restaurant, has been re-elected as the president of the NZChefs Association.

With sizzling pans, stressed cooks and hungry patrons, it take a lot of skill to lead a commercial kitchen.

It also take a lot of skill to lead a nationwide organisation.

Just ask Invercargill chef Graham Hawkes. He has just been elected president of NZChefs, the national association representing professional chefs, cooks and trainees, patissiers and confectioners.

The chef knows the pressures of leading the national body, having acted as president for two consecutive terms from 1991 to 1995.

This time around, he expects the job to be a little easier. Modern technology meant he no longer had to jump on a plane every other week - or move to Auckland - to lead the association, he said.

He landed the top job after a couple of Aucklanders threw his name in the ring.

Now operating the Paddington Arms restaurant, Hawkes has cultivated a lifelong passion for cooking. He first started creating in the kitchen with his grandmother when he was 8, learning how to master toheroa soup.

His grandmother then taught him how to make icecream - after he had first milked the cow by hand and processed the milk.

His love of cooking continued into his first year of secondary school, when he took three weeks off lessons to cater for a shearing gang, he said.

"I've done nothing else but cook since. Nothing else has inspired me. It's just been an absolute passion."

The Southland Times