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Why and how did you become a chef?
I just loved cooking for my family and trying different food. I started when I was young. Chinese-style cooking was my favourite when I was 14.
I had my first job in a kitchen at 13 and then did courses at Otago Polytechnic in Cromwell and Dunedin.
Biggest professional challenge?
Say you do 100 meals a day - to keep up with the preparation, making the food and serving it in a tight time frame is a challenge but you do it and it is a real buzz.
Salt, because it brings the flavour out in food. Use it sparingly and taste as you go.
Best cooking tip?
Taste your food as you cook and always season with salt and pepper.
What type of food do you like to eat?
I love everything, even offal, and I like trying new foods. I love Japanese, Indian, Thai and fresh, sharp flavours.
Who cooks at home?
Roast lamb and bread and butter pudding because it takes me back to my childhood, sitting around the table with my whole family tucking in and being happy.
Favourite kitchen gadget?
Kenwood cake mixer because I can do so much with it - make cakes, blend sauces and make mince.
How have people's tastes changed/latest food trends?
People are more aware of healthy options or change of diet and we can cater for them now. Also, I find people do try new things but still go back to comfort food they know.
Battle of TV cooks - Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver?
Jamie Oliver - he makes it looks simple and easy with a sharp clean taste and he is lovely. As for Gordon Ramsay, he is a chauvinist pig - no comparison there.
Moroccan lamb on a roasted tomato and chickpea salad with lemon, mint and yoghurt dressing
850g boned-out lamb leg butterfly
1 tsp ground cumin and ground coriander
Pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper
Juice of a lemon
½ cup olive oil
Mix all ingredients and leave to marinate overnight or four to six hours.
Roasted tomato sauce
500g tomato wedges
Sea salt and cracked pepper (sprinkle over)
1 Tbsp sugar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Place tomatoes in a greaseproof roasting dish, sprinkle sea salt, pepper, sugar then drizzle olive oil over.
Place into oven at 160degC until semi dried. Don't worry if you get a couple brown bits. This takes about 45 minutes.
When cooled, add:
1 Tsp crushed garlic
Dash of tabasco sauce
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint and coriander
Zest and juice of a lemon
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp water
Add to the tomatoes, gently fold in, taste and season accordingly.
Add one tin (415g) of chickpeas.
Lemon, mint yoghurt dressing
1c natural unsweetened yoghurt
Zest of one lemon and juice of two
½ tsp crushed garlic
2Tbsp mint jelly
Small handful of mint leaves, sliced
Salt and pepper
I like cooking the lamb on the barbecue for the flavour. Cooking time is about 25 minutes for each 500g if you want medium rare or 30-35 minutes for medium. On the barbecue, I cook it in a throw-away tin-foil tray and only turn it over once.
When done, remove, cover and rest for 15 minutes.
Place the roasted tomato and chickpeas on a plate, slice meat and layer on top.
Drizzle the yoghurt dressing over top, sprinkle with cracked pepper. As an extra, on the side, I serve toasted pita bread with dukkah and buttered gourmet potatoes.