From non-cook to chief barbecuer

Eldon Chisholm has barbecued more than 1000 cube rolls at field days and shows. Photo: Stephen...
Eldon Chisholm has barbecued more than 1000 cube rolls at field days and shows. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
It is somewhat ironic that Silver Fern Farms assistant treasurer Eldon Chisholm never used to  cook.

For he estimates that he has now cooked more than 1000 beef cube rolls on the barbecue since becoming the company’s chief barbecuer at South Island shows and field days.

Admittedly, his cooking repertoire was relatively concise — cube roll, lamb racks and occasionally some venison medallions — but he was doing a mighty job of cooking up a storm at Silver Fern Farms’ site at  this week’s Southern Field Days at Waimumu.

"I only started getting interested in even trying how to cook when I started this. I just couldn’t cook. But I very quickly learned how to cook red meat," the good-natured Mr Chisholm said.

It was a "baptism under fire" at Canterbury A&P Show in Christchurch when he first got behind the grill seven years ago.

The key to cooking perfect red meat was bringing it to room temperature and letting it bloom, before oiling and seasoning it with salt and pepper, and then later resting it wrapped in tinfoil for two or three hours.

Mr Chisholm has spent 29 years with the company, based in the Dunedin office, where he now had a  desk  job in the finance team.

"I’m just a guy that sits in an office," he said.

He enjoyed moonlighting as a cook and getting out to events, where his name was familiar with many farmer shareholders.

He believed Silver Fern Farms was the "best place" to work.

"We talk about passionate people and I think I am, because I’m still there and like getting up every day and going to work," he said.

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