Ahappy kitchen is its own re­ward

For­mer 1024 restau­rant owner and chef Kent Bad­de­ley is amp­ing to get back in the kitchen. He chats to Mark Story

Hawke's Bay Today - - News -

1What’s Kent Bad­de­ley been up to since the clos­ing of 1024?

At present I have been laid up wait­ing on an op­er­a­tion. I have had some ex­cep­tional of­fers which sadly I have had to turn down.

The con­cept of 1024 was a homage of sorts to my chef grand­mother. We took a lease of six years to see this through. Com­pil­ing the dishes since we ex­ited the build­ing, we noted more than 5000 dishes of East Coast pro­ducer food. Ex­tra­or­di­nary! We’re pleased to note there were a cou­ple of great dishes in there.

2When can we ex­pect your next it­er­a­tion - and what can we ex­pect?

I have been con­tem­plat­ing my next food ex­plo­ration sad­dened that this will pos­si­bly be my last stand be­fore I ex­pire?

I am also ex­cited by the jour­ney. I’d like a bal­ance of friendly, ca­sual, soul­ful en­vi­ron­ment with small plates and points of fo­cus food­wise on the prove­nance of the East Coast of New Zealand. A happy place with the per­fect bal­ance of ev­ery­thing.

3A lo­cal restau­rant owner once told me re­gional restaurants’ big­gest com­pe­ti­tion is the 6pm tele­vi­sion news, do you agree?

I note a lot of young cooks cloning them­selves and their food to look like what they read and see glob­ally - I be­lieve this is a ma­jor flaw in our devel­op­ment. Many are chas­ing jour­nal­ists’ ap­proval, but why? Christ knows. Surely cooks should know bet­ter.

It’s im­por­tant to note that Cui­sine magazine holds some form of power over many young cooks, hence the copy­ists of the pre­vi­ous para­graph. The way the magazine talks about restaurants is that they are un­der their in­flu­ence. What a non­sense.

4Do you think the ad­vent of TV su­per star Masterchef been good for the cook­ing scene?

Masterchef etc seems to cre­ate a be­lief in the pub­lic that they are ar­biters them­selves. I say when a bunch of non-pro­fes­sional home cooks start throw­ing around con­tem­po­rary mod­ern meth­ods off the bat, some­thing is hap­pen­ing be­hind the scenes.

Shake loose and lose the old list men­tal­ity and fo­cus more on be­ing bet­ter, to your­self, your team and your cus­tomers. A happy restau­rant is all you need by way of re­ward.

5Is the pre­mium prove­nance of our re­gional food over­played, or un­der­played?

Brand Kent Bad­de­ley (as you call it) has al­ways been about the util­i­sa­tion of this coun­try’s ex­cep­tional dirt-grown, sun-raised prod­uct from ar­ti­sans and grow­ers trusted to be sus­tain­able and to have their pro­duce free of tox­ins. This mantra has been a ma­jor part of my life. The prove­nance of re­gional food is ex­actly where New Zealand should be fo­cused on.


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