Renowned chef Carl Maunder is executive chef, and co-owner, along with his wife Jade Lucas, of New Plymouth eateries State Bistro and State Pasta. The former celebrates all that was right with the great bistros of the 90s, with classic dishes that allow seasonal produce to shine.
"We've released our new-season menu which is absolutely banging," says Carl. The pair hope soon to resume the masterclasses that were such a hit before Covid restrictions. State Pasta is dedicated to the beloved Italian staple and the pair have now also branched into pasta classes. "We've also taken our gelato production in-house which allows us to take the same considered approach to using the best seasonal ingredients - we did a tamarillo sorbet which flew out the door - alongside crowd-pleasers like our bounty bar and lemon meringue pie," says Carl. Here he shares some of his kitchen habits in the home.
My kitchen at home is... the heart of the house. Everything we do at home is in and around this kitchen. It's open plan and has a great flow to the dining, living and outdoor spaces. In terms of equipment, it's a pretty standard modern kitchen with a central island, four-burner induction cooktop and a double oven. It's great for having friends over, and makes it easy to keep an eye on the kids while cooking.
The changes I would make to turn it in to a dream kitchen is... If anything I'd add gas, get a six-burner, and a larger oven. Ask any chef and they'll say a home kitchen feels a bit dinky. On an everyday basis, it's perfectly fine.
What you'll always find in my fridge is... good cheese, lemons, mayonnaise, mustards and Krakin Chilli sauces – we like to spice things up. Plus, we have an abundance of fresh herbs in the garden.
Some of my pantry staples are... Forvm vinegars, both the chardonnay and cab sav (we even take them on holiday), Mutti canned tomatoes, good extra virgin olive oil and flaky sea salt. There are also plenty of dried spices.
My favourite ingredient to cook with is... It changes thoughout the year, as my favourite ingredient is what's in season. At the moment it's asparagus and whitebait. That's what's so brilliant about cooking, I love the seasonal changes and look forward to what's coming in next.
The kind of dishes I most love to make are... If we're talking home cooking, I love slow cooks, particularly over wood or charcoal. On the weekends I usually do a leg of lamb, pork roast or short rib cooked over charcoal. My go-to barbecue is the charcoal Weber.
My go-to meal in a hurry is.... broccoli pasta – it's the home version of a dish we do at State Pasta when broccoli's in season, and perfectly fine when made with store-bought pasta.
If friends stop by unexpectedly I serve up... We always have cheese and chutney on hand, and I make the most of what we have in the cupboard. On the weekend we had friends turn up with halloumi, so I grilled it with cumin, fennel, beechwood honey and chilli.
My drink of choice is... If we're eating it's always wine! And it depends on what we're having. Man O'War Valhalla with a roast chicken is perfect, or if we're eating beef, the Shaw + Smith Syrah. I'm also partial to a Bloody Mary for brunch.
Something unexpected I make from scratch is... I make a pretty good spiced rum peach tea with basil and lemon.
I cook at home... always on my days off, at least twice a week. My wife, Jade, takes care of the weekday cooking, which I really appreciate. Some people think chefs don't cook at home, but for me cooking for the family on my day off is completely different from cooking at work.
A kitchen gadget everyone should own is... a proper microplane for hard cheese and lemon zest. It gets daily use in our house. Peugeot salt and pepper mills are a close second.
My food philosophy is... source good quality ingredients - there are some really good producers out there. Gain an understanding of where the product comes from. Good ingredients cost a bit more, but it's worth it.