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Director of Kitchens, SkyCity, Auckland

The one ingredient I can't live without is ...

coriander. To this day, the smell still reminds me of one of the first kitchens that I worked in after finishing my apprenticeship in the New Zealand Army. After working for the army, I took up a role at the Regent of Auckland as a commis chef where they used a tonne of the stuff. In the Army, coriander was something that came out of a packet and I had absolutely no idea what it looked like fresh. At the Regent, the whole larder fridge used to smell like coriander all the time. I thought that that was what all non-army fridges smelled like.

I have $20 and four people to feed, I'm making ...

chicken quesadillas. I'm a big fan of Mexican cooking and have been lucky enough to study the cuisine in the US and work in a few well-known Mexican restaurants over there. Here in Auckland, I use shredded stewed chicken thighs (I prefer Kipdale chicken if you can get it), cooked in a tomato stock then mixed with chopped coriander, grated cheese and a small amount of diced onion. The mix is wrapped in flour tortillas (the best ones are from Mexican specialities in Ellerslie) and fried until crisp on each side. Season with Pacific sea salt and serve with guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo - chopped tomato, onion and cucumber. In season you can get all of that for under $20, especially if you shop at the markets.

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I'm tired and hungry, I am ordering takeaways from ...

Burger Fuel New Lynn. I'm still stuck on the South Western burger and my eldest daughter is a big fan of the kumara chips. The staff are always great, the food is well prepared and they use good-quality ingredients.

The person I'd most like to cook for is ...

John Lydon - ex Sex Pistols and lead singer of Public Image Limited. He's has been my hero since I was about 14. I think the whole punk ethos of questioning everything and accepting nothing is relevant to cooking. I saw the Pistols live in'96 and remember thinking at the time that I wished I could have got the catering job for them.

The best meal I have ever eaten was ...

the night David Tua fought Lennox Lewis for the heavyweight championship. I was living in southern California in Palm Springs, right on the edge of the Mojave Desert. I was working in a kitchen where of the 90 chefs in the brigade the French executive chef and I were the only non-Hispanics. I watched the fight at a mate's place with most of the kitchen team. Everyone that turned up to watch the fight brought salsas, quesadillas, tacos and my mate's wife cooked a chicken mole that to this day is the best I've tasted. Tua lost, I drank way too much tequila and I remember the meal for all of the right reasons - great company, cool location and absolutely stunning food.

Oh dear, it's my last meal, I'm eating ...

potato tortellinis with goats' cheese, truffle and medjool date puree by Ben Bayley of the Grove. Grilled snapper with prawn and herb risotto by Jeremy Schmid of Two Fifteen. Coconut tapioca pudding with avocado sorbet by Peter Gordon of Dine/Providores. All of these chefs I admire professionally and personally. Plus, I feel sorry for Jeremy who lost his hair at 20 - it can't have been easy. Letting him cook a main for my last meal is me showing empathy.