Caterer says food is all about flavour

Reporter Rexine Hawes speaks with caterer Shar­ion Thomp­son for our On The Job se­ries.

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About -

A ca­reer in the food in­dus­try was never some­thing Shar­ion Thomp­son imag­ined for her­self.

But cre­at­ing culi­nary won­ders and de­light­ing peo­ple with flavour-in­fused dishes is now her heart’s de­sire.

The former Air New Zealand trol­ley dolly’s real love af­fair with food started while in gal­ley guide train­ing for first class pas­sen­gers.

She worked along­side well­known chefs Peter Gor­don and Tony Ad­cock.

‘‘That gave me pas­sion,’’ she said.

‘‘I cooked be­fore that. I al­ways did good din­ner par­ties.

‘‘They (Gor­don and Ad­cock) would say I am go­ing to take that away for my res­tau­rant in my next menu. ‘‘It gave me a real buzz. ‘‘I never thought it would be a ca­reer.’’

She and hus­band Graeme moved to Mata­mata in the early 2000s to slow down and even­tu­ally re­tire.

But she says it didn’t quite work out that way.

‘‘I had six months off and got my real re­ally bored. ‘‘I de­cided to open a cafe.’’ She opened Eat in 2006, as an up­mar­ket eatery, some­thing Mata­mata needed at the time. ‘‘It was huge four years.’’ She sold Eat in 2010 and even­tu­ally started her own ca­ter­ing com­pany, Food by De­sign.

Shar­ion kitchen in home.

The home also boasts a large din­ing room with bar for din­ers look­ing for a quiet place to cel­e­brate a spe­cial oc­ca­sion.

She caters for wed­dings and events to small groups and even has a com­mer­cial their Tower Road for busy par­ents who want to host a din­ner party.

She and Graeme work as a team - she han­dles all the cook­ing, while Graeme takes care of lo­gis­tics.

She and Graeme eat sim­ple food, but it is al­ways packed with flavour - the heart of any culi­nary Do you know­some­one with a unique job? Email rexine.hawes@fair­fax­me­ cre­ation.

‘‘I love cre­at­ing flavours and try­ing new foods. ‘‘Noth­ing goes with­out flavour. ‘‘You can put the plainest food down and have peo­ple say ‘I didn’t think this could taste like this’. That’s what food is about.

‘‘My pas­sion is see­ing a smile on some­body’s face.

‘‘That is what this busi­ness has built - peo­ple com­ing back, and see­ing that smile.’’

Shar­ion says down time is rare, but it’s dur­ing those times that her in­spi­ra­tion flows and she get’s cre­at­ing.

She be­comes in­spired while din­ing out and from read­ing cook books and food mag­a­zines.

‘‘I cook with my eyes. I taste it and then I cre­ate it. I very rarely fol­low a recipe.’’

Even­tu­ally, fol­low­ing re­tire­ment, the bits of pa­per will be­come a cook book, based on her trav­els and ex­pe­ri­ences with food, with a com­i­cal theme to it.


Food by De­sign caterer Shar­ion Thomp­son says the sim­plist of dishes can be amaz­ing as long as they are packed with flavour.

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