Bee Van de Elzen is a qualified chef and owner of the Good From Scratch cookery school with her husband, celebrity chef Michael Van de Elzen. The farm to-fork experience, on their lifestyle property near Muriwai, is a 20-year dream in the making.
This year for me has been… challenging! Unfortunately, I lost my beautiful dad in January, and we finally opened our Good From Scratch cookery school just before the first lockdown. But we are getting back on track and I'm positive and excited about the future. The lockdowns definitely were a reset in many aspects of my life. I feel so lucky, I'm sure like so many other people, that we get to live in this beautiful country of Aotearoa.
My kitchen at home is … very dated. We have invested in the cookery school kitchen but one day, we will modernise the one in our home.
Something you will always find in my fridge is … parmigiano reggiano and pickled onions.
My must-have pantry staples are … jasmine rice — I love a light and fragrant rice. A tart marmalade is wonderful on toast in the morning, and as a marinade or added to a sauce. Also, Israeli couscous and honey from our bees.
My favourite ingredient to cook with is … chocolate. I absolutely love the smell of chocolate melting, the richness of it, and the silky gloss, the darker the better.
My go-to midweek meal is … chicken larb. This delicious Thai dish is packed full of sweet, salty, sour and spice notes and is a perfect bowl of aromatic goodness. I finish it with a crispy iceberg lettuce, a wedge of lime and crushed peanuts on top.
If friends or family stopped by unannounced for dinner I would make … a home-kill steak, fresh veges from my gardens or a freshly picked salad. I'm spoiled being able to lift the freezer lid and choose just about any cut of meat that we have reared ourselves. Our gardens are always abundant with all sorts of things, along with a greenhouse, which is a food forest.
The dishes I most love to make are ... definitely Thai and Indian. I have very fond memories of travelling to both of these amazing countries and particularly loved the hustle and bustle of local markets, and intriguing types of food I had never seen before.
My cocktail cabinet is always stocked with ... Appleton Rum and Kahlua.
My most-used kitchen appliance is … the kettle. I'm a big tea-drinker! Mike says I have 60 million cups a day — which is a slight exaggeration.
My least-used appliance is … the juicer. It's such a long process to clean it!
A kitchen gadget everyone should own is ... a transistor radio on the shelf in the kitchen. Mine goes on first thing in the morning and isn't switched off until later in the evening.
The spices I can't live without are … smoked paprika, turmeric and star anise.
My advice for living well is ... eat food that is as fresh as it can possibly be. If you can grow your own, do it. The satisfaction of growing some of your own food can be the greatest reward.