What are you plugging right now?
The new idea of pairing food, not with wine or beer, but with vodka, as we do at the Vodka Room, whether it be a crisp clean classic vodka, any one of our number of house-infused vodkas and cocktails, or a modern interpretation of the old-world styles like the Karven Starka Vodka which is locally produced, aged in oak barrels and infused with natural botanicals like kawakawa. We have a Russianinspired menu which works extremely well with this spirit – think house cured pork belly, vodka infused salmon, fermented vegetables, Russian crab blinis and of course the brown sugar and molasses pavlova. See you all at Taste of Auckland! Plug done!
What’s your idea of happiness?
Nice house by the beach surrounded by like-minded friends and family, awesome fishing, awesome surfing, vineyard and micro-brewery on site, sunrises, sunsets, charcoal cooking, unlimited supply of the best meat and produce.
Which living person do you most admire most?
He’s not alive but Billy T James springs to mind. I was only young when watching on TV and [him] having my family in hysterics, the way he joked about both Ma¯ori and Pa¯keha¯ people, bringing people together as one the way it should be. I think some of our current politicians could take a leaf out of his book. Billy T for Prime Minister.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
It happened at the first-ever Taste of Auckland, my first-ever cooking demonstration. I chose to cook a hotsmoked hapuka dish – dish came out well but I managed to smoke out the whole marquee!
Ever stolen anything?
Yes – little things, knives, forks, glassware to furnish flats back in the day.
What do you most dislike about your body?
Chef’s belly. But I’m currently working on that – trying a low-carb diet so I don’t have to miss out on all the tasty stuff
If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
Back to the Far North, where I grew up; but 100 years ago; to go fishing, gathering etc, as it would have just been amazing.
What life lesson will you pass on to your children?
Just teach them to appreciate nature, being in the outdoors, proper stuff like making huts, climbing trees, camping, native creatures, this is every New Zealander’s heritage and it must be looked after and enjoyed.
What job would you do other than your own and why?
I like gardening a lot and being creative, so most probably some kind of gardener/landscape designer.
If you were given three wishes that you could fulfil by a magic genie, what would they be?
It’s a bit of a cliche but a peaceful world would be great. No child would ever go hungry. To fulfil my idea of happiness.
Murray Wiblin appears at this year’s Taste of Auckland, November 16-19 at Western Springs, Auckland. Tickets for the event are available at tasteofauckland.co.nz.
The Vodka Room’s Murray Wiblin grew up in the Far North and appreciates surf, seafood and natural surroundings.