Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Meet the People - 4

Another in the Series Meet the People - Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things - Jason Dell is living the chef’s dream. Having worked as executive chef at the internationally top-ranked luxury lodge, Blanket Bay in Glenorchy for the last four years or so, he’s now heading up a swanky new restaurant development – The Nautilus Project – in Singapore. He’s recently moved there with his family and will be overseeing the development of a number of the company’s new restaurants – first up, a new seafood restaurant located in a new multi-million dollar development on Orchard Road, which is set to open in July. Jason (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Wheke) is no stranger to generous food budgets, fabulous kitchens and the ability to recruit a top brigade of chefs. He’s also published his own cookbook, “Savvy.” “Any good chef worth his weight aspires to producing his own cookbook. For me it was all about the challenge of extending myself beyond the stove, of putting what I do down into words. As well as being judged a New Zealand Chef of the Year, Jason was a gold medallist team member of the New Zealand Culinary team in Singapore in 2006. Most recently he won the prestigious 2007 Pacific Asia Travel Association Young Tourism Professional Award. He’s also proud of his Ngai Tahu heritage. “Most of my experience of traditional Maori kai came from extended family members at Rapaki when I was growing up. I think as you get older you also gain a greater appreciation for your ancestry and I’m definitely much more interested in learning about Maori kai than I was in my early years. I’ve managed to get hold of some very good books about native plants and how to grow vegetables in the old ways and I think it’s safe to say that Savvy won’t be my last book,” he says. www.jasondell.co.nz

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