Ray McVinnie was definitely the right man for the job this week - if anyone embraces the multicultural nature of our country it is him. He introduced me to one of my favourite Malaysian restaurants - Bunga Raya in New Lynn (the other is Sri Pinang in K Rd) and his recipes over the years have taught me how to incorporate many international flavours and ingredients in to my cooking. He is sharing lots of ideas in his Get the Idea column this week.
When I asked Ray who could be our guest chef in this issue, which is a mini-celebration of multicultural New Zealand, he instantly mentioned Ponsonby Rd's saan "because their food is different, and so good". Chef Lek proved he too was the right man for the job, sharing recipes for somtum (spicy green papaya salad), khao soi (beef flat egg noodles) and larb ped (spicy duck mint salad) that are easily made in Kiwi kitchens.
We are introducing Middle Eastern flavours to Monday night's lemon spice chicken meatballs, Peter Gordon is helping Adi put some Italian in to his Indonesian-based repertoire and Aaron ... well, I guess you could say his peanut butter cups are American, but who cares, really. When something is this good we'll claim it for ourselves.