Top chef picks up the Aga chal­lenge

The Press - Zest - - Food - Ab­bie Napier

Vin­tage-in­spired cook­ing is back on trend and trusty old Aga cook­ers can be spot­ted in high-end ap­pli­ance stores through­out the city.

Hav­ing an Aga at home is one thing, but us­ing it to feed a restau­rant full of peo­ple in the city’s new­est bou­tique shop­ping precinct?

Chal­leng­ing, is an un­der­state­ment. How­ever, prop­erty de­vel­oper Alas­dair Cas­sels and celebrity chef Richard Till are not cowed.

Cas­sels’ bou­tique ar­cade precinct in Wool­ston, The Tan­nery, will soon be home to one of two fine-din­ing restau­rants in the world us­ing a do­mes­tic Aga as the cen­tre­piece of the kitchen. Cas­sels had the dream and he em­ployed Till to make it a re­al­ity.

‘‘It was Alas­dair’s idea, re­ally,’’ he said. ‘‘I would never have cho­sen it but it’s a chal­lenge, and I’m re­ally happy with it, and we’re go­ing to make it work re­ally well.’’ Till has been de­sign­ing and over­see­ing the new restau­rant and ad­ja­cent food store for months. Gus­tav’s Kitchen has a com­mer­cial kitchen like any other restau­rant, but in pride of place, out on the din­ing floor, a re­stored cream Aga will be cen­tre stage. The four-oven do­mes­tic Aga, the largest on the mar­ket, will be in full swing with din­ers look­ing on. The menu re­flects the slow­cooker food best pro­duced by an Aga, but Till is adamant the re­sult will still be fine din­ing.

It is all about tak­ing the tra­di­tional and bring­ing it into the 21st cen­tury. The re­stored in­dus­trial tan­nery com­plex still has its orig­i­nal roof trusses and the restora­tion in­side has been done beau­ti­fully. Wall­pa­pers, dark pan­elling and wrought­iron de­tails prom­ise the precinct will be ev­ery­thing vis­i­tors could hope for.

Gus­tav’s Kitchen is ad­ja­cent to a large bar and a food store, which Till says will be sim­i­lar to Nosh, in Auck­land, a com­pre­hen­sive food store.

‘‘It’s not go­ing to be like a deli where you have to go to the su­per­mar­ket af­ter­wards.’’

Slow food:

Till says the pro­jected open­ing of Gus­tav’s Kitchen will be some time in June, af­ter a three-week trial pe­riod when the team will get to grips with the Aga.

Check out thetan­nery.co.nz to keep abreast of open­ing dates and de­vel­op­ments.

Photo: AB­BIE NAPIER/FAIR­FAX NZ

Richard Till with the Aga cooker at Gus­tav’s Kitchen. Look for a June open­ing.

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