The crew, not gadgets, make the kitchen

Gwen Harvie
Eichardt's Private Hotel, Queenstown

Why and how did you become a chef?
Growing up on a farm, food was always important; my mother was a keen cook and enjoyed teaching us to cook.

Biggest professional challenge?
Making sure you have a balance between work and life, due to the unsocial hours.

Favourite ingredient?
Thyme.

Best cooking tip?
When you are having a dinner party cook dishes you have made before.

What type of food do you like to eat?
Different food to what I prepare at work, so things like Thai and Japanese food or cheese and wine are always a favourite.

Who cooks at home?
When I cook at home it tends to be simple, tasty and fast.

Favourite meal?
A hearty stew in winter.

Favourite kitchen gadget?
It is the kitchen crew rather than the gadgets which make the kitchen - their sense of humour and their ability to knuckling down and working hard when it is busy.

How have people's tastes changed/latest food trends?
People's tastes are constantly evolving, but for the chef the most important things never change - sourcing good quality food and cooking it with respect.

Battle of TV cooks, Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver?
Sorry, I'm normally working when their shows are on, so no comment


Chocolate Squares
INGREDIENTS
400g softened unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
2 cups cocoa
6 eggs
1 cup flour
150g dark chocolate buttons
150g white chocolate buttons

METHOD
Beat butter and sugar until creamy and white.

Add eggs one at a time, beating between.

Stir in flour, cocoa and chocolate and pour into a 20cm tin.

Bake at 150degC for 45 minutes - the centre of the square should appear almost uncooked.

Cool in tin, cut when cool and serve with strawberries, whipped cream and a sprinkling of icing sugar.