MasterChef's Jax Hamilton on Chch

PHOTO KELLY SHAKESPEARE
Last updated 09:42 29/08/2012

Our MasterChef finalist shares her local favourites.

How do you describe your cooking?
Easy, simple, delicious, sexy! A way to approach ingredients currently in your pantry from a different angle. I like to Jax things up.

Who has inspired you most in the kitchen?
Watch out! Here comes the cliche of the year - it was my Mum.

How has life been since releasing your cookbook?
My book, Jax cooks, is a beautiful end to a very long journey. Since it hit the shelves, my world/life has just blossomed.

What's the one dish you always resort to?
I love chicken, which is no secret. I love to eat food made from fresh, seasonal ingredients, with plenty of flavour, that can be made quickly, such as soup.  I love that a bowl of soup can be so be emotive.

What are the three top ingredients in your pantry?
Lemons - a dish without lemons (sweet or savoury) to me is like leaving the house in all your glad rags without perfume. Garlic turns so many dishes into perfection. And salt - nuff said.

What's the best macaron joke you've heard?
I'm still waiting ... grrrr.

What kind of child were you in the classroom?
A typical Aquarian with a vivid imagination. I never wanted to do what everyone else was doing. I loved music. I loved to dance.

What's your earliest memory of Christchurch?
Arriving for the first time in 1992 after a horrendous 42-hour flight, seeing the mountains and feeling like I had discovered the world's best-kept beautiful secret.

What's something people might not know about you?
I used to be the press officer for Simply Red, Everything But The Girl and Little Richard.

In which Christchurch shop are you guaranteed to spend money?
The Mediterranean Food Company on Tuam St.

Favourite restaurant?
Aaah, that's a really hard one. It used to be Indochine (they used to make the best EVER Mai Tai cocktails). Today, it's the Monday Room.

Best place in the city to buy a coffee?
Savoire Café in Merivale Mall (and nom nom cakes).

What's your favourite place to escape to?
The kitchen or music - it would be hard to choose between them.

What's one thing Christchurch has lost that you would bring back?
Her personality.

What key features would you like to see in "new Christchurch"?
Reminders of what was lost.

Describe Christchurch in three words ...
Significant. Defiant. Majestic.

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