Aspiring young chef’s dessert comes to life


An aspiring young Auck­land chef ful­filled one of her dreams af­ter a dessert she cre­ated came to life with celebrity New Zealand chef Peter Gor­don.

Every year, on the first day of school, Is­abella Hol­ley, 9, draws a pic­ture of what she wants to be­come when she grows up.

She’s wanted to be an air host­ess, fairy princess, wait­ress and an ac­tor but this year, she wanted to be a pas­try chef and own a fine din­ing restau­rant at Sky City.

She even came up with her very own dessert which was in­spired by a hol­i­day in Samoa.

It was posted to so­cial me­dia by her dad John and it quickly drew the at­ten­tion of Sky City which ar­ranged for Is­abella to meet with Peter Gor­don.

Re­ferred to as the ‘god­fa­ther of fu­sion cui­sine’, Gor­don owns sev­eral restau­rants around the world, in­clud­ing The Su­gar Club at Auck­land’s Sky Tower.

He and his pas­try chef Elenoa Saumi helped Is­abella make her trop­i­cal dessert at the Sky Tower restau­rant last Tues­day.

Is­abella’s dessert was a pas­sion­fruit curd with lime and mango sor­bet and thyme panna cotta.

She was ex­cited when she found out she would be cook­ing with Gor­don, whose recipes she loves.

‘‘It’s an op­por­tu­nity not a lot of peo­ple get,’’ Is­abella said.

‘‘I was so ex­cited and it was a re­ally amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

Is­abella took the lead in the kitchen at The Su­gar Club, but Gor­don and Saumi were close by to of­fer ad­vice and some help dur­ing the cook­out.

Is­abella mixed and added in­gre­di­ents and learnt about the dif­fer­ent equip­ments used to pre­pare desserts. She had the most fun plat­ing two dishes, ready for sam­pling.

Mum Viki said Is­abella was a huge help in the kitchen and she’s of­ten com­ing up with new dishes for the fam­ily to try. Is­abella’s favourite foods were salted caramel and gar­lic.

Is­abella has taken her love for food to an­other level by giv­ing all her pets food names.

Her five fishes are called Salmon, An­chovy, Sar­dine, Pasta and Pizza, and two cats called Cous­cous and Tapi­oca.

‘‘I just love food. Over the years I’ve watched mum cook and it looks fun, I knew that was what I wanted to do when I grew up,’’ Is­abella said.

‘‘I love eat­ing food and I like ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent flavours.’’


Is­abella was ex­cited to cook in Peter Gor­don’s kitchen at The Su­gar Club with top fe­male pas­try chef Elenoa Saumi.

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