Fancy food off menu for chefs

For­get Kom­bucha, fundrais­ing food­ies love hum­ble fry-up

Herald on Sunday - - IN OTHER NEWS - Cherie Howie

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

Photo / Ja­son Oxenham

Peter Gor­don, far right, and oth­ers at the Chef’s Break­fast at The Sugar Club.

Mike Shatura and daugh­ter Maya, 6.

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