Top chef picks up the Aga challenge
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.’’
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.
Richard Till with the Aga cooker at Gustav’s Kitchen. Look for a June opening.