Kiwi chef Hayden McMillan runs Etta restaurant in Brunswick East, Melbourne

What was your greatest holiday?

I found my home away from home in Tokyo. Cooking and eating are my biggest hobbies and the food culture in Japan is on another level. It's like going to food heaven.

And the worst?
Adelaide, Australia. It's not Adelaide's fault; my partner and I arrived on Boxing Day to 40-degree heat. The whole city was shut down for the holiday and we were scammed by our hotel. Comedy of errors.


If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing?
Eating. My holidays are always about food first, and I do plenty of research before I go anywhere.

If we could teleport you to a place in New Zealand for a week-long holiday, where would it be?
Bay of Islands. I was born in Whangārei and I spent my holidays in Russell when I was a kid. It has everything you need: beach, pāua, pipis, mussels, crayfish pots. Paradise.

How about for a dream holiday internationally?
I'm interested in the New Orleans food culture. I'd tie it in with a bigger Southern US trip and make sure to catch an NFL game or two.

What's the dumbest thing you've ever done when travelling?
Racing around on a scooter without a helmet or protective gear in Thailand. I didn't crash but it's a really dumb thing to do.

Aisle seat or window seat?
Aisle all the way and exit row where possible. I'm 6'5" and need the leg room!
Complete this sentence: I can't travel without ... A budget. Otherwise I'd run out of money on the first day.

What's the best travel tip you've ever been given?
Make sure to visit Savoy in Tokyo. Easily the best pizza I've had in my life.

What was the most memorable meal you've had while travelling?
A little place in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Sitting on the beach with the water breaking at my feet, and a full moon. They brought out huge platters of fresh meat and seafood to choose from and cooked it up for us on the spot.

What's the best thing you've brought back from a trip?
Memories and a decrease in stress.


Favourite airport to land at?
Nothing beats Queenstown Airport. The view right before landing is so picturesque and just that little bit scary.

What's the next trip you've got planned?
I'd like to head to Tasmania for a couple of weeks and hit up all the restaurants. I intend to eat as much seafood as possible.