My Holiday: Michael Van de Elzen

Chef Michael Van de Elzen.
Chef Michael Van de Elzen.

Michael Van de Elzen is the food presenter on TV One's Kiwi Living, starting again on April 1.

Best holiday ever?

My wife Belinda and I rented a tiny cottage on Great Barrier Island. It had no power, the bathroom was outside and the owner of the cottage brought us a basket of seafood delights fresh every morning. Amazing!

Favourite city?

New York. Arriving in to New York for the first time was an unforgettable experience. We arrived at midnight and were so excited we found ourselves walking the streets, our eyes on stalks. The city was truly alive with activity. It's true what they say, New York never sleeps.

Best dining experience you've had while travelling?

It was unique as it was in India and we sat at a table at a mango plantation. As we were eating yet another delicious meal from this incredible country, mangoes were falling from the trees around us. As I was walking to the bathroom a mango fell and hit me on top of my head.

Most unusual food you've sampled abroad?

Drinking rice wine in Northern Vietnam from a giant cylinder that had a black bear preserved in it. I kid you not. The idea was it passed on the animal's power, and from looking at me you can tell it works.

Best travel tip?

Travel light. Buy a few good pieces of quality clothing that are versatile and can double up during the day and at night. Good shoes for walking are essential.

What's been your biggest travel disaster?

First trip abroad to UK and Europe by myself at the age of 21. I went via LAX and I left my passport and money in the toilets. Didn't realise until I was about to board the flight that I'd left them behind. After a long and hasty run back I met the man walking out of the toilets with my passport and my cash in his hands. Whether he was going to hand them in or not I'm not 100 per cent sure, but I was so very lucky.

Most remote place you've been?

It would have to be Serengeti National Park, Africa. We spent three nights in the centre of the park, with no power and no amenities. It was so incredibly dark and I have never experienced stars like it. Every minute we saw a shooting star.

Finish this sentence: it's not a proper holiday unless ...

You can switch all electronics off and totally remove yourself from everyday life as we now know it. Long may it continue.

- Spy.co.nz

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