Ian Shields. Photo by James Beech.
Bella Cucina, Queenstown
Why and how did you become a chef?
I have always loved cooking. I left home at an early age to
travel around the world and kitchens always had vacancies for
work, so that was how I first got into it. I started out on
tuna-fishing boats in California, cooked in Mexico, Spain,
Australia, Ireland and now New Zealand. I've worked my way
through the kitchen ranks, learning different styles and
Biggest professional challenge?
At Bella Cucina, we always have a changing menu, so
constantly trying to source local ingredients, think of new
menu ideas and create dishes that suit everyone's tastes can
Butter ... everything tastes amazing with butter.
Best cooking tip: Always cook with seasonal, fresh
produce. It is delicious and can really save you a dollar.
What type of food do you like to eat?
Asian, Spanish, Mexican - you name it, I like it.
Who cooks at home?
Thermomix. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.
Me. I love cooking and, when I'm at home, I get to try new
things and cook different styles than I do at work. I let my
girlfriend do desserts, though. I'm not a huge fan of baking.
Dinner at Kappa, an amazing Japanese restaurant in
Favourite kitchen gadget?
Thermodynamic mix. It is just amazing; you can do anything
with it - sauces, blending.
How have people's tastes changed?
I think people are trying lots more these days, stepping
outside their comfort zone. They are also focusing on local
fresh ingredients, which is really awesome.
Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver?
JAMIE! We cook the same style of food. He is all about
sharing and homestyle cooking, which I also enjoy.
1 litre fish stock
1 pinch saffron
500ml white wine
1 onion diced
1 stick celery diced
2 gloves garlic diced
½ bulb fennel diced
1 cup arborio rice
12 x scampi
2 x squid tubes sliced into rings
12 x mussels
12 x clams
100g butter (more if you like!)
Pea shoots to garnish
In a saucepan heat fish stock with pinch of saffron.
In a deep frying pan fry diced onion, fennel, celery and
garlic in canola oil. Add arborio rice and sautee. Add 100ml
white wine and cook off.
Slowly ladle fish stock into fry pan while stirring. Wait
till it is absorbed and add more. Keep adding stock until
rice is cooked but still has a slight ''bite'' to it.
Steam mussels, clams and scampi in white wine. When cooked
add some of the liquid to rice but avoid making it too wet.
In a separate frying pan, sautee squid rings. Cook until
Finish rice by stirring in peas and butter.
Spoon on to a flat plate and place the seafood on top. Add
pea shoots for garnish and a drizzle of olive oil.