The renaissance of Matariki - on the plate
ran out of icecream. Then I went and bought another five-litre box and sat there until I could do it fast and neatly. Sweet, nailed it.’’
At work the next day, Fiso didn’t tell anyone what she’d done. ‘‘I was kinda embarrassed.’’ The first thing she was asked to do was quenelle the day’s amuse bouche – duck liver parfait with candied breadcrumbs.
‘‘Martin was like, ‘Are you going to be OK with that?’ So I sat down and – bang, bang, bang! – they were ready. I still remember it: Martin looked over and said, ‘Did you do those? Someone’s been practising.’’’
Fiso credits her quenelle skills to making it past her first day in New York at Public. In the hot kitchen, the line chef – using a slower two-spoon technique, not one – couldn’t quenelle the sorbet into the marcona almond and grape gazpacho fast enough to stop it melting. In a ‘‘quite ballsy’’ move, Fiso stepped up, took over the sorbet, and the job was done. ‘‘I remember the sous chef saying, ‘Holy crap, I want to learn how to do that!’ And the other guy said ‘I do too’. After that they thought, ‘This chick knows what to do.’
Monique Fiso is about to open her own bricks-and-mortar restaurant for her business, Hiakai.