A-List chef Nick Honeyman is returning to France on Friday to run Le Petit Leon, an old-school French restaurant in the Dordogne region, a bistro that only opens for July and August each year. Honeyman, 32, worked at the classic establishment in summers gone by as head chef.

He will be taking New Zealand wine to add to his menu as well as MasterChef winners and Living magazine food writers Karena and Kasey Bird. The trio met on Valentine's Day at the Marlborough Food and Wine Festival and Honeyman has become a mentor and good friend.

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The three went to the Noosa Food Festival across the Tasman together and Honeyman is a huge admirer of the sisters' passion for food.


They will need it, he says. There will be 16-hour days in the kitchen.

To prepare for fulltime kitchen work, the pair have been working in My Kitchen Rules NZ judge Ben Bayly's restaurants, Baduzzi and The Grove. The pair will do a three-week stint in August and then Honeyman is taking them and his entire restaurant staff to the luxurious seaside village of Positano in Italy. Honeyman likes to chase the sun and told Spy he will be back in New Zealand before the end of the year to finish a yet-unnamed TV show he has been filming around the country and to further plans for his own restaurant in Auckland.