Traditional Asian with a twist

Michelin star chef and Masterchef New Zealand judge Josh Emett with Madam Woo chef Jane Leong at...
Michelin star chef and Masterchef New Zealand judge Josh Emett with Madam Woo chef Jane Leong at their new restaurant in the Mall ahead of its opening on Friday. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Business partners Josh Emett and Fleur Caulton waited two years to find the perfect premises for their latest venture.

The Masterchef New Zealand judge and Michelin star chef and Mrs Caulton, who opened Rata together last year, had looked at ''everything'' in Queenstown and Auckland for the ''right place and the right opportunity''.

When the building formerly occupied by Tatler became available, they knew it was time to make a move.

They took possession on October 7 and Madam Woo, a Chinese and Malay-style street-food restaurant, described as traditional with a modern twist, opened in Queenstown on Friday night.

The restaurant, including private dining area, has been refurbished and refitted with stylish, modern Asian-style fittings, proving a hit with about 200 invited guests at the official opening on Friday night.

One of the keys to the restaurant was Malaysian-born chef Jane Leong, who had worked for Mr Emett at Gordon Ramsay's Melbourne restaurant the Maze and at Rata.

''Jane and I have worked together for the past year on ideas and menus,'' he said.

''The dishes really reflect Jane's heritage and her passion for the cuisine.

''It is really exciting to be able to bring our ideas to life at Madam Woo.

''I love this style of food - the way it's done is very traditional - there are a lot of old family recipes [from Ms Leong's family], there are some amazing techniques and really beautiful food.''

Mrs Caulton said she believed the new enterprise filled a gap in the Queenstown market for ''affordable, modern Asian''.

The most expensive item on the menu costs $28.

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