Top chef in town to share delights

By Linda Hall

1 comment

For all you foodies out there feeling withdrawal symptoms after last week's FAWC, or for those who couldn't make it to any of the events, here's something to get your tastebuds going again.

Award-winning South Island chef, restaurant owner and cookbook author Bevan Smith is coming to town.

He will be cooking for his guests and showcasing his latest cookbook, Simple, at Kitchen Things, Munroe St, Napier, tomorrow night from 6pm.

His restaurant, Riverstone Kitchen, was named supreme winner in the Cuisine New Zealand Restaurant of the Year Awards 2010 and his philosophy is to make good things using ethically produced and locally grown ingredients.

Riverstone Kitchen is surrounded by gardens and orchards and its menu changes to suit the seasons.

It's an easy philosophy for Hawke's Bay residents to follow, with our region producing superb fruit, vegetables and herbs.

Bevan said he could talk about food until he was blue in the face but the test was in the tasting.

"The cabbage dish I am cooking tomorrow night will change your life," he said.

There was also Thai chicken and a "flash Jelly Tip" to taste.

He and his wife Monique opened their restaurant just outside Oamaru in 2006.

"We had been overseas in London and Australia for about nine years and decided it was time to come home.

"We wanted the lifestyle that only New Zealand can offer.

"We were nervous about going into business, but at the same time confident in our own skills.

"It's really other people who you bring on board that you have to worry about.

"The brutal reality of owning your own restaurant means that if the kitchen hand doesn't turn up for work you find yourself cleaning floors, after hours of cooking. That's not much fun."

What was fun, though, was seeing their customers' reactions to good simple, food and watching the business go from strength to strength.

Bevan said he didn't really have a favourite season, "although in summer you are spoilt for choice".

"By the end of it you are ready to move on and look forward to cooking some hearty winter meals."

He believed doing the right thing ethically when it came to food would make cooking and eating a good experience for everyone.

"Sometimes people say 'I can't afford to pay $20 for a chicken to feed my friends coming over for dinner'. I say, 'Don't you think your friends are worth $5 each?' People are funny like that - they think nothing of spending hundreds of dollars to fix the plumbing but baulk at spending extra money for good food."

So, get along to Kitchen Things tomorrow night and enjoy the live cooking demonstration followed by a chance to mix and mingle while enjoying a taste from Riverstone Kitchen.

Meet Bevan Smith of Riverstone Kitchen at Kitchen Things, 20 Munroe St, Napier, tomorrow from 6pm. Tickets are $15 from Kitchen Things, or email, or phone (06) 834 0220

- Hawkes Bay Today

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