Chef and FAWC! ambassador Ray McVinnie says the foodie festival rates as one of the best in the world. He chats to Mark Story

Where do you rate FAWC! on the country's culinary event calendar?
No let's rate it on a world scale. I've been to a lot of these festivals all over the globe and on a world scale it's one of the best. We've got to celebrate these things - if they held this in Italy they'd love it, they'd just all go nuts. Many of the events are sold out so I guess New Zealand must understand how good it is, but for a lot of Kiwis I think they don't really get it.

Hawke's Bay has always been a destination not just for artisan food, but latterly dining. How have the provinces seized power from the former metro crucibles of dining?
Yes they have and it is a change. It used to be that there weren't that many good provincial restaurants but now there is and I would say what you can get in restaurants in Hawke's Bay is among the best in New Zealand. And I think the reason people know about it is you're very slick and intelligent tourist people.

When you're cooking at home and want something quick and easy and don't have many ingredients, what's your go-to dish?
Well check out my Facebook page every Tuesday night at 6.30pm - that's where every week I do a half hour cooking demonstration - so tune in and see.


Infamous US chef Anthony Bourdain said he detests the term 'celebrity chef' but admitted he was one. Do you agree/does it mean you don't get to cook as much?
Look I don't want people to give me titles but what can I do about it. We're taught to be modest in New Zealand and that's a very good thing to be, I think. I still get nervous before a demonstration.

No cook can do enough cooking. A good cook is obsessed with food and we just love talking about it. It's like in Italy where you can witness two old boys on a train talk about how to make spaghetti carbonara for three hours.

What's the biggest industry myth?
Male chefs who think that they have to scream and shout and act like children. They think that they should and that's definitely a myth. Some male chefs think that's still the way you have to behave. You don't see it anywhere else. I mean, you wouldn't do it in a bank would you?