Fancy food off menu for chefs
Forget Kombucha, fundraising foodies love humble fry-up
What do 13 of Australasia’s best chefs eat when they get together for breakfast 194m above downtown Auckland?
It’s not as complicated as you might think.
Fruit salad, granola and yoghurt and a good “fry-up” of bacon, sausages, eggs and roasted tomatoes washed down with coffee or juice were on the menu for Peter Gordon and the dozen other top chefs, including Depot’s Al Brown, MASU’s Nic Watt and MasterChef-winning sisters Karena and Kasey Bird, who shared breakfast together at The Sugar Club — a chef’s tradition — before getting to work for the SkyCity Dining for a Difference event last night.
The 300-seat fine dining charity dinner, set up by internationally celebrated Kiwi chef Peter Gordon, has since 2007 raised more than $1.25 million for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand, which supports people with blood cancers and their families.
In his restaurant in the Sky Tower, Gordon said the chef’s breakfast was always a very casual get-together with simple food. “As much as we like fancy food, for breakfast we really just want a bacon fry-up.”
Gordon was a successful bone marrow donor for his sister, Tracey, after she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 1994.
“It was awful [hearing about her diagnosis], but being a donor was so easy. You have a general anaesthetic and they take fluid from your hip . . . and it was just a couple of days recovery for me.”
Those gathered for yesterday morning’s pre-event breakfast were also there in support of another colleague, Auckland’s The Grounds head chef Mike Shatura, whose 6-year-old daughter Maya was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of 3.
Shatura said his daughter had not long finished three years of on-andoff rounds of chemotherapy and was having her immune system rebuilt.
“It’s been a big journey. Emotionally, the lack of sleep, financially. The toughest part was getting a 3-year-old to understand what’s going on.”
Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand had been a huge support, helping with accommodation and organising events for children such as his daughter.
He was “super proud” to help at last night’s charity dinner, and of those who gave their time alongside him.
“It makes me happy to see there’s good people out there.” Maya was doing well, he said. Her hair had grown back and she was getting support for lingering effects of her treatment, Shatura said.
“She’s a trooper. She’s than anybody.”
Kasey Bird said her family had also been affected by leukaemia and other cancers.
“It’s a great cause, and it’s a great way to be creative, learn from others and connect with other [chefs] in New Zealand and Australia.”
The other New Zealand-based chefs involved last night were The Sugar Club’s Josh Barlow, Giulio Sturla of Roots Restaurant in Lyttelton, Kate Fay of Auckland’s Cibo, Leslie Hottiaux, of Ape¯ro, also in Auckland, and Vaughan Mabee of Queenstown’s Amisfield Bistro.
Three chefs travelled from Australia — Ali Currey-Voumard of The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery in Tasmania, Cory Campbell of Bangaroo House in Sydney, and Thi Le, of Anchovy in Melbourne.
Gordon wanted to encourage more people to be tested as potential bone marrow donors.
That was especially important for those in minority groups, where there would likely be fewer compatible matches for those in need.
“It’s a really he said. stronger painless procedure,”
● Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand is supported entirely by voluntary donations from supporters, sponsors and fundraisers. To help, visit www.leukaemia.org.nz
Peter Gordon, far right, and others at the Chef’s Breakfast at The Sugar Club.
Mike Shatura and daughter Maya, 6.