Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a journalist based in Auckland.

Chef beats Conchord to the laughs at investiture ceremony

Chef and TV presenter Al Brown after receiving his MNZM at the investiture ceremony. Photo /  Mark Mitchell
Chef and TV presenter Al Brown after receiving his MNZM at the investiture ceremony. Photo / Mark Mitchell

He may have been in the company of award-winning comedy songwriter Bret McKenzie, but restaurateur Al Brown got most of the laughs at an investiture ceremony in Wellington today.

When Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae struggled with the clasp on Brown's New Zealand Order of Merit insignia, the Wellington chef took off his glasses and offered them to Sir Jerry.

With a cheeky smile and a laugh, Sir Jerry obliged and put the glasses on, to laughter from the hundreds of guests at Government House.

A relaxed and humbled Brown told APNZ after the ceremony that Sir Jerry got "stuck" with the pin, so he tried to help him.

"It's quite hard to get the pin in and he didn't have his glasses on. I had mine on, but I couldn't actually see what he was doing so I took mine off and offered them to him.

"It was a lovely, light-hearted sort of moment and I enjoyed it immensely. It took the ice off, no worries."

Brown, who was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, is well known as a TV presenter, food writer and restaurateur.

His Logan Brown restaurant is an award-winning Wellington institution and his Auckland restaurant Depot, which opened last year, was named supreme winner at this year's Metro/Audi Restaurant of the Year Awards.

Brown said it was "overwhelming" to be honoured for his services as a chef.

Oscar and Grammy award-winning songwriter and actor Bret McKenzie said he felt humbled to be made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to music and film.

"All those people in there have given so much to the community."

McKenzie said the ceremony was "more intimate than the Oscars" in March, where he won Best Original Song for his Muppets movie track Man or Muppet.

The Flight of the Conchords member was able to bring his parents, wife, brother and brother's fiance - unlike at the Academy Awards, where only one guest was allowed.

And also unlike the Oscars in Hollywood, McKenzie didn't have to travel far.

"I live five minutes away, so it's a very convenient awards ceremony."

McKenzie said he was "currently in negotiations with Kermit the frog" to work on another Muppets movie.

He and Brown were among dozens of recipients to be honoured at investiture ceremonies in Wellington this week.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf02 at 26 Nov 2014 22:16:14 Processing Time: 898ms