Celebrity chef Brett McGregor is blending his passions for travel and cooking in his new role as a consulting chef at Auckland Airport's Strata Lounge.
McGregor started travelling as a 17-year-old and cut his teeth in the food world while visiting Thailand.
Then in 2010, McGregor's flair for international cuisine made him popular with judges and audiences on the first season of TV cooking competition MasterChef NZ and a Thai dish he made during the final helped him secure his win.
Now, seven years later, he's hoping to impress international travellers with his culinary skills.
Working with the Strata Lounge's executive chef Vadim Zerr, McGregor will create seasonal recipes to be served to guests using the 185-seat lounge, which opened on September 4 at the airport's international terminal.
He told the Herald on Sunday his new venture was a "natural progression" in his career as a chef.
"This is me getting my food on to the stage. I'm not constrained by any restrictions," he said.
"If I want to cook anything, I can cook anything here - that's what I'm loving. A lot of passion has come back, a lot of excitement for the role, and I think that's going to show through with the food.
"I kind of take this as a bit of a tester for me - I can try a whole lot of recipes and then hopefully in the future it puts me in good stead for a restaurant."
Since winning MasterChef NZ the former school teacher has written three cookbooks - one of which inspired his successful TV show Taste of a Traveller.
McGregor also fronted Countdown's cheap meals campaign until the programme wound down a couple of months ago.
He wanted his food to "take people on a journey" and hoped the meals on offer in the Strata Lounge would reflect a traveller's culinary world, but also give them a little slice of New Zealand.
"We're a food-loving nation and I think we should try to reflect our beautiful food producers in this lounge, so we can use great Kiwi products and give people a real experience."
The first seasonal menu was inspired by Thai flavours, including jungle curries made without coconut cream that are popular in the north of the country.
"I've taken some of my favourite recipes over the last 10 years or so and reworked them into something that I think is quite magical," McGregor said.
"Travel for me is all about learning about the other - so the more I can travel, the more I can see other cultures, the more I can experience other food, the more I learn about myself. I think if we all had an opportunity to do that, that's an amazing thing.
"All those times I go away and I travel and I eat something I want to recreate those food memories for people and now I have the liberty to do that."
As well as working with the Strata Lounge, McGregor will continue Taste of a Traveller.
Filming for the third season - which saw McGregor go to Kenya, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Fiji and Australia to explore local flavours, cooking and traditions - has just wrapped and the show is set to air in both Australia and the USA.