As the Park Hyatt's executive chef, Brent Martin has had a hand in developing the food across its several eateries, including its flagship restaurant Onemata. Having worked for Park Hyatt for more than 20 years, in some of its most prestigious hotels, Brent has developed a deep understanding of food and service, and has cooked for influential people including royalty, international sports teams, politicians and the Dalai Lama. For Onemata, which means fertile soil in Māori, Brent aims to acknowledge New Zealand's many talented food producers, and the menu is designed to highlight the origins of each dish. At the moment he's busy juggling the festive season, which means "lots of Christmas parties and diners in our restaurants. We just launched the new summer afternoon tea in the Living Room that celebrates summer through a playful journey of five courses." Here, Brent shares his at-home kitchen essentials with Eat Well.
We live in a little bungalow a quick walk to the beach in Mission Bay so our kitchen is compact withalot of natural light. To turn it into a dream kitchen, having a gas stove would be a game-changer. We have quite a bit of storage, but a walk-in pantry would be a great addition. An island would be helpful for the times when my wife and I are both in the kitchen trying to meal prep for the week. Lastly, we have always wanted a big farm sink. Being a chef, there's no shortage of dishes!
In my fridge you will always find some sort of pickle, whether it's homemade pickled onions or just a simple jar of Branston, a handful of cheeses — usually a cheddar, a soft goat, a halloumi, and parmesan, and barbecue sauces from America.
My goal is to only have 10 spices in my pantry. I can get creative with this amount and you don't have a lot of wasted spices since they are always being used and stay fresh. They are kosher salt and a full pepper grinder, bitter turmeric, sweet cinnamon, earthy cumin, hot taco seasoning, chilli powder, cayenne, herbaceous Italian seasoning, curry powder and garam masala.
I cook a lot of Asian fusion dishes at home because you can add a lot of flavour to simple veges, rice, and meat. For that the essentials are low sodium soy sauce, Thai red curry paste, sesame oil, sweet chilli sauce, sriracha and peanuts.
My favourite ingredient to cook with is garam masala. It's a very versatile spice — I use it for everything savoury from fish to red meat to sauces. I've even used it for a sweet bread pudding to add an extra dimension of flavour!
My go-to meal made in a hurry is scrambled eggs but made the real chef way — 2 parts eggs, 1part cream, salt and pepper in a buttered pan whisked until cooked through.
I am always pickling our veges — everything from onions to cucumbers to carrots. I make a sweetened coffee creamer reminiscent of what we would have in the US by mixing cashew milk, condensed milk and vanilla bean paste. Seasonally we make lemon curd from scratch or in the citrus off-season, we make a salted caramel. I love to make flatbread from scratch, from just yogurt, salt and self-raising flour.
I make a point to sous vide meat and freeze it on a weekly basis to have ready made meals in our freezer. Since the process of sous vide slow cooks the meat all the way through to whatever temperature you like, it simply needs to be defrosted and thrown on the barbecue for some grill marks. If friends or family stop by I would fire up the grill and throw some lamb or beef on there alongside whatever veges we have on hand.
I cook at home as often as I can, usually 4-5 times a week. I love to be creative in the kitchen at home and it's relaxing for me to spend some time cooking with my wife.
I love to celebrate whatever is in season. I like to use a lot of root vegetables in the winter, whether it's simply roasted with some fresh herbs or made into a curry. In the summer I use stonefruits whenever I can, grilling peaches to be served alongside meats or simply cut up with some beautiful burrata and herbs.
I love craft beers. I lean more towards IPAs — the more bitter the better and I enjoy the complexity of hops.
A go-to restaurant for me is Hello Beasty. Anytime I have friends or family in town — it's a great environment, very flavourful dishes, and always consistent. FishSmith in Herne Bay is hands down my favourite fish and chip shop to go to. For a quick casual meal close to home, I like E-Sarn Wok in Mission Bay.
As I've been away from New Zealand for many years, I'm enjoying getting to know the different food regions. I definitely think Clevedon has amazing produce, great cheeses, standout olive oils and honeys that are all in our backyard here in Auckland. I've gotten to know many of the producers over the last couple of years and they are like family to me.
I always have a fresh loaf of bread from Dusty Apron so I would say my most-used appliance is my toaster. My go to is the classic butter and Vegemite.
Hands down the kitchen gadget everyone should own is a sous vide machine. They enhance the flavour of your food, provide a healthier result, better textures and tenderness, never overcook your food, and take the stress out of cooking.
It is so vital to know where your food is coming from. Know what farm you are buying your meats, fruits, produce, and dairy from. It's important on so many levels to support local.