Chef's life - well done

Last updated 14:29 07/03/2014
jon hellmrich
STORY TO TELL: Former Old Library Cafe owner Jon Hellmrich has written an entertaining book about 40 years as a chef.

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REVIEW: Sometimes those of us who are deeply into words can get pretty pedantic about the way we shape a sentence, paragraph or tome.

But at the end of the day it's the story that carries the day.

‘Scuse my cliche, but I think Take One Fresh Chef cuts the mustard.

And I think its author Jon Hellmrich would agree that you can serve up a plate at a restaurant with perfect presentation but if the dish doesn't excite or move you in some way, then it just doesn't cut the mustard.

Hellmrich has plenty to offer on the substance front. He's distilled 40 years of the intense life of the restaurants he's chefed in across the globe, alongside marriage and kids, into 260 something pages.

With wife Stephanie, he was the founder of Tiffany's in Christchurch, and is the former owner of the Rimuwhare and Old Library Cafe in Fairlie.

He used the Aussie bravado that enabled him to be highly successful in his hospitality career, to take on the publishing world.

Self-publishing is a growing phenomenon. Like the internet, self publishing is about people finding a way out of the restrictions of monoliths like the Fourth Estate and Penguin.

Spanning the larger part of one man's lifetime, Hellmrich's story is a reminder that life is no easy ride.

There is pathos and tragedy on that journey. And good times too.

The downside of self-publishing is you don't have an editor who might expertly edit out a little repetition while preserving your voice.

Because every good dish needs to be edited a little, while preserving the flavour.

But in the case of this book, like any good night at a restaurant, once it gets on a roll, that's when the magic happens.

Complements to the chef.

The book can be ordered online at

BOOK: Take One Fresh Chef
Author: Jon Hellmrich
Self-published: Through Amazon
RRP: $38.
Online: $35
Reviewer: Tracy Miles


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- South Canterbury


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