Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Meet the People - 4

Another in the series Meet The People - Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders doing interesting things. Jason Dell is living the chef’s dream. As executive chef at the internationally top-ranked luxury lodge, Blanket Bay in Glenorchy, he has a generous food budget, a fabulous kitchen filled with clever gadgets and the ability to recruit a top brigade of chefs. And now he has published his own cookbook, Savvy. “For me it was all about the challenge of extending myself beyond the stove, of putting what I do down into words. " As well as being judged a New Zealand Chef of the Year, Jason,35, was a member of the gold medal-winning New Zealand Culinary team in Singapore in 2006. Most recently he won the prestigious 2007 Pacific Asia Travel Association Young Tourism Professional Award. He’s also proud of his Ngai Tahu heritage. “Most of my experience of traditional Maori kai came from extended family members at Rapaki when I was growing up. I think as you get older you also gain a greater appreciation for your ancestry and I’m definitely much more interested in learning about Maori kai than I was in my early years. I’ve managed to get hold of some very good books about native plants and how to grow vegetables in the old ways and I think it’s safe to say that Savvy won’t be my last book.”

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