Flying Trestles chef Carwyn Powell credits his success to
the "kindness of friends and family" who helped him win a
United Kingdom scholarship, which took his cooking career to
new heights. In this week's Cuisine, Mr Powell, often found
at the Snow Farm in Wanaka or looking after the Auckland arm
of the catering company, shares his recipe for carrot, orange
and caraway soup, a perfect winter warmer.
Flying Trestles' chef Carwyn Powell. Photos supplied.
New Zealand-born chef Carwyn Powell cut his culinary
teeth in Wellington in the 1990s, working in establishments
including the White House and Cafe Globe.
However, after a friend put his name forward for a cooking
scholarship in the United Kingdom, which he won, his parents
paid his air fare, keen for him to make the most of the
"opportunity of a lifetime".
That it was, with Mr Powell securing a spot with the Adnam's
Hotel group in Suffolk, kick-starting a cooking career in
which he has worked in gastro pubs in the United Kingdom,
restaurants and super yachts in the south of France, and
cafes and hotels in New Zealand.
A chance encounter with a Flying Trestles truck at Rippon
Vineyard in Wanaka many years later piqued his interest and
led him to approach the busy company for a job.
His potential was recognised and he was snapped up. Within
days, he found himself driving the company's catering truck
to remote Mt Nicholas Station, where he was asked to cook up
some of the biggest crayfish he had seen.
"I could only fit one crayfish in the pot, they were that
big, but from that day, I was hooked.
"The adventure of location catering can't be beaten.
"That was eight years ago, and since then we've done some
exciting stuff in some of the most amazing locations,
including weddings, events, functions, TV and film work
throughout New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific Islands, working
on movie sets like Narnia, King Kong, The
World's Fastest Indian and The Hobbit.
"It's given me a new love for cooking, as you have to be able
to cook in any manner of conditions, some which can be
challenging, but also the ability to 'free form' cook and an
understanding of the chemical nature of food."
The company has been in operation for 23 years and in that
time has carved out a reputation as the region's most
flexible catering company.
It now boasts six large trucks and a smaller, more mobile,
one known as "the Flying Kitchen" for events, and able to
serve people coffee and meals.
"There's nothing like getting in a 15-tonne truck during a
blizzard, putting chains on it to drive it safely up a
mountain to cook full breakfast, lunch buffet and afternoon
tea, all in the most beautiful alpine environment.
"Not a lot of people can say they've done that before," Mr
Carrot, orange & caraway
1kg carrots, peeled and sliced
2 onions, peeled and diced
500ml orange juice
4 Tbs butter
4 tsp caraway seeds
400ml chicken stock
2 shots Aquavit* (optional)
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add onions and saute for two minutes.
Add carrots and saute until carrots are soft, about 15
Add caraway seeds and cook for 30 seconds.
Add chicken stock and orange juice.
Cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 35
If using stick blender, remove from heat and blend soup to a
puree. If using food processor, pour soup through a large
sieve to separate the solids. Place the carrot/onion portion
into a food processor and puree. Once pureed, add back to
saucepan and mix.
• Return to heat in a saucepan and bring to simmer, adding
more stock if too thick.
• Check seasoning; add a shot or two of Aquavit.
• Garnish with a swirl of cream and a sprig of coriander.
*Aquavit is a Scandinavian caraway liqueur available
at some liquor stores or specialty food stores.
"This soup is better made a day in advance, as the perfume of
the caraway develops overnight, much like a curry, so allow
to cool, cover and refrigerate."