After many years working in illustrious UK eateries such as The Ivy, New Zealand-born chef Marcus Verberne is now at the helm of Dunedin stalwart Nova. Here the chef tells us a bit about what his cooking life is like at home, including his love of a slow dish...
My dream kitchen would include... Size and bench space are important for all the equipment. We like to entertain at home; having an open plan kitchen dining area is important so I'm able to socialise while cooking. The kitchen is the hub of our family home, so open-plan is essential for that.
Some things you would always find in my fridge... My wife Masha makes delicious Russian soups: borscht, fish or chicken. They are healthy and really convenien Our 5-year-old, Antony, loves them. Also, smoothie ingredients - yoghurt, apple juice, fruit - and Antony is mad for eggs of any description. Especially runny yolks.
Some pantry staples in our household are... A good spice selection is important - I love a good curry. I always have capers, anchovies, preserved lemons and good oils and vinegars. I'm a real fan of extra virgin rapeseed oil. I found a really good one from The Good Oil company. It's a beautiful thick golden oil with a subtle nutty flavour. Great for dressings and has a high smoking point so lovely to cook with too. Roast potatoes are awesome cooked in it!
My favourite ingredient to cook with is... Bacon in all varieties. It's so versatile and makes everything taste better.
The kind of dishes I love to cook are... I love slow cooking. I cooked for my brother Scott and stepmother Sharron's birthdays the other night. There were 14 of us. I cooked two whole shoulders of lamb on the bone for 10 hours, submerged in duck fat with loads of spices. It was falling from the bone and went down a treat.
My go-to dish in a hurry is... Pasta! Masha and I cook this prawn pasta with pancetta, cherry tomatoes and basil. It takes minutes and is really tasty.
And if friends stop by unexpectedly... Spark up the barbecue and open some wine.
My drink of choice is... Wine. Working in a wine club for the past six years or so with some of the world's top sommeliers has been an educational treat. The club had 9000 wines on the list so I had the opportunity to taste some exceptional examples with some exceptional professionals. I'll always consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to work so closely with my good friend Ronan Sayburn and his talented team. I remember sitting in the club on Friday afternoons with Ronan "researching" for our books. We'd literally have 20 bottles in front of us!
Something unexpected that I make from scratch is... I have an ice cream churn. I bought it to make ice cream and sorbets with my son. The possibilities are endless.
I cook at home... Masha and I share the cooking. I love cooking at home without the pressure of a commercial kitchen. It's really satisfying cooking for your family and friends.
The kitchen gadget everyone should own is... A temperature probe. Perfect for accurate cooking degrees for larger joints of meat.
My food philosophy is... Keep it simple and execute it well. Source good ingredients and don't mess with them too much. Let them speak for themselves. Not too many components on a plate - it can get confusing, especially if you're matching flavours with wine.
29 The Octagon, Central Dunedin