THE GOOD LIFE C

Your Home and Garden - - Yh&g + Escostore -

Food is al­ways bet­ter when you know what has gone into it, says celebrity chef Michael Van de Elzen. Th­ese days Michael is liv­ing the eco-friendly life on a West Auck­land prop­erty burst­ing with fresh pro­duce

hef and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity Michael Van de Elzen lives in Waimauku, West Auck­land, with his wife Belinda and their daugh­ters Hazel and Ivy. Since mov­ing to the farm in 2015, the fam­ily has worked hard to cul­ti­vate the land, es­tab­lish­ing vege patches and plant­ing an or­chard of fruit trees in­clud­ing limes, lemons, or­anges, heir­loom ap­ples and cider pears.

“We’re keen to be as self-suf­fi­cient as pos­si­ble when it comes to pro­duce,” ex­plains Michael, whose next step is to start com­post­ing their food scraps and build worm farms out of four cast iron tubs. The prac­tice of grow­ing their own pro­duce is a huge part of the way the Van de Elzens choose to live sus­tain­ably. Michael is proud to be able to cre­ate de­li­cious dishes at home with food he has grown him­self, know­ing that it’s all chem­i­cal-free and packed full of nu­tri­ents.

Michael’s ‘Good From Scratch’ phi­los­o­phy is about just that – cook­ing good, tasty meals from scratch that are guar­an­teed to be healthy and full of flavour. As he has been a chef all his work­ing life, sit­ting down for fam­ily meals has never been the norm, but now it’s some­thing the Van de Elzens pri­ori­tise – hav­ing din­ner around the ta­ble and en­joy­ing qual­ity time to­gether.

Liv­ing out west sur­rounded by bush, beaches and acres of farm­land has en­hanced the fam­ily’s love of the great out­doors too, with so many na­ture-filled ac­tiv­i­ties avail­able right on their doorstep. “We love giv­ing the girls such a wide open space to play, and we re­ally en­joy the jour­ney of the food that comes with be­ing on a farm,” says Michael. “It’s so dif­fer­ent to the in­ner city, it’s al­most like a dif­fer­ent coun­try. We can get four sea­sons in a day and do as many ac­tiv­i­ties just as quickly; take the girls to Lit­tle Nip­pers in Muri­wai in the morn­ing, get out on my moun­tain bike in Wood­hill For­est in the af­ter­noon and be back in time to slow-cook some­thing in my brand new out­door fire­place. It’s a fan­tas­tic life­style and now we’re out here, we couldn’t imag­ine any­thing else.”

MEET + GREET Michael Van de Elzen, TV per­son­al­ity, chef and res­tau­ra­teur.

GREEN THUMB

Michael Van de Elzen is just as con­scious about keep­ing chem­i­cals out of his house as he is keep­ing them o his fruit and veges. That’s why he chooses eco­s­tore prod­ucts, know­ing they’re safe for the fam­ily and good for the planet too.

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