Masterchef still learning about wine matches

DEBBIE JAMIESON
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2014
Brett McGregor
MURRAY WILSON/ Fairfax NZ
STILL A STUDENT: New Zealand's first Masterchef Brett McGregor.

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New Zealand's first television Masterchef will be teaching cooking at the Gibbston Wine and Food Festival but will also be doing plenty of learning of his own.

Brett McGregor said he had been working hard to develop his knowledge of wine since winning the coveted title in 2010.

"I've been doing quite a bit of menu development and a lot of that is matching with wine. I've actually been having the odd lesson with a couple of people in Auckland but I am not a connoisseur. I'm a drinker."

Partial to pinot, he was looking forward to being part of The Southland Times-sponsored festival in the Queenstown Gardens, where he will be doing cooking demonstrations throughout the day.

"I'm thinking probably venison, definitely some lamb and there might even be something with salmon. There will be quite simple everyday recipes through to a dinner-party recipe."

Deputy principal at Branston Intermediate School in Christchurch when he became New Zealand's first Masterchef, McGregor is now teaching cooking, is involved in a national programme to bring cooking into schools, is publishing cooking books, writing for food publications, doing lots of demonstrations, working for supermarket-owners Progressive Enterprises, taking food tours overseas, working as an ambassador for the Auckland Food Festival and working with charities.

"I miss the banter with the children but when you do what you love you don't feel like you're working," he said.

His next plan is to open his own restaurant. "That's one thing my wife and I have been trying to work towards since the show.

"The main thing is to get better at what I do. The last thing I want is for someone to walk into my restaurant and say it's OK. We're getting there. I'm thinking in the next 12 to 24 months that could be on the cards."

A fan of Asian cooking - he has just returned from three weeks in Thailand for his brother's wedding - McGregor says it is likely any restaurant he opened would have a definite Asian influence.

He hopes to be stopping in at Josh Emett's Madam Woo and other restaurants while in Queenstown.

AT A GLANCE

What: Gibbston Wine and Food Festival

Where: Queenstown Gardens

When: March 15 Tickets: Gate sales $20 per person, including three taste tokens, school-aged children free, VIP and group bookings available

More info: gibbstonwineandfood.co.nz

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