Cherie Metcalfe has gone from young chef to entrepreneur and author. Ahead of An Evening with Cherie Metcalfe, she answers a few questions about her new book Keepers, her business Pepper & Me and what to expect from the evening.
Tell us a little about yourself and about Keepers.
Keepers is a collection of my all-time favourite recipes, collected from since I started cooking when I was 16. These are all-time favourites that you will come back to and use again and again. Simple ingredients, impressive results and for every occasion.
What is your connection to the Bay of Plenty?
I grew up in Rotorua, went to Lynmore Primary, Mokoia and then Lakes High. I started cooking in a restaurant called Herb's Place, then what was Seismic 10 years ago. I completed my chef's training at the Bay of Plenty Polytech before moving to Australia.
What can people expect from An Evening with Cherie Metcalfe and why should someone come along?
I'm looking forward to meeting some customers, sharing a little bit about my journey from a young Rotorua chef to an entrepreneur and author. Hopefully, everyone will learn a little about business, food, have a laugh and enjoy a wine with some delicious nibbles from Keepers.
How would you explain Pepper & Me to someone who didn't know the company or its philosophy?
Pepper & Me is about connecting people with food. It's at the heart of everything I do, and always will be. I provide products that can help the average home cook be inspired to try new things and learn simple ways to turn weeknight meals into something amazing.
With the Pepper & Me club website we provide the recipes, and Kitco the cookware - it all helps on our journey to find and share my passion for food.
With so many recipes online, why do you think people should, and still do, buy cookbooks?
Cookbooks really are a thing of beauty and hard work, it takes years for the recipe testing, editing, photography and layout to be perfect. I love books that tell a story and we keep the great ones forever. Many books are really used to decorate tables and shelves next to the plant collections in homes - I wanted Keepers to be a beautiful book, fit for the coffee table but that would also be used for its recipes on a frequent basis and I am really happy that we achieved that goal.
What one piece of advice do you have for an aspiring chef or lover of home cooking?
Don't be afraid to try new things! My favourite thing about food is that there are no rules, cooking is never-ending possibilities.
Favourite meal of the day?
If I'm going out, can't beat a champagne brunch!
Sweet or savoury?
Savoury all the way.
One ingredient you couldn't live without?
Man grind (our salt, garlic, lemon herb blend!).
Who is your favourite chef and why?
Hands down Dave Chang! Though for family food, oh I do love a bit of Jamie Oliver!
Hot, medium or mild?
Hot. Proper hot.
Cherie Metcalfe is a chef and the creator of Pepper & Me products - including pastes, rubs, grinds, sauces, crumbs and sprinkles. Now she is also the author of Keepers -released in early April
About the evening
On June 16 at 6.30pm she'll be at Capers Cafe and Store for an evening. Tickets are $55 per person or $99 for a ticket and a copy of Keepers. The evening includes a talk from Metcalfe about where her passion and obsession with food comes from, a glass of Volcanic Hills wine, five tasting plates across the evening with dishes from Keepers and a chance to have Metcalfe sign your copy of Keepers.
The evening is a fundraising event for the John Paul College PTA Hardship Fund, helping families make ends meet. Tickets are limited so email firstname.lastname@example.org to book tickets. Include the number of tickets you need, nutritional requirements and if you'd like to order your own copy of Keepers - Recipe Book.