Home' The Mirror Central Otago : January 30th 2013 Contents 12
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Chefs chime in on their
favourite dining places
Top nosh: Queenstown five-star chef Ben Batterbury, centre, tucks into delicious
flounder at his ''local favourite'' Fishbone Bar & Grill served by co-owners Mark
Godden, left, and Darren Lovell.
Photo: SUE FEA 627547108
By SUE FEA
High profile Queenstown five-star
chef Ben Batterbury stars in a
unique international insider's guide
to eating out from the expert's
British publisher Phaidon went
straight to the mouths of 400 top
chefs -- the best palates on the planet
-- to compile ''Where Chefs Eat'' -- a
comprehensive guide book to 2000 of
the world's best eateries.
Batterbury, himself a Brit, is one of a
handful of New Zealand chefs,
including Al Brown, Michael
Meredith and Bevan Smith, hand-
picked for their opinions and one of
only two in the South Island.
The Rees Hotel's True South Dining
Room executive chef filled out a
survey last year answering ques-
tions 0n everything from his
favourite late night food spot and
bargain meal to his ''local favourite''
and the restaurant he would travel
any distance to eat at.
''The book came out last week and it
was so long ago that I'd forgotten all
about it,'' Batterbury said.
He was pleasantly surprised and
very honoured to discover that his
opinions were starring alongside
some of the world's top chefs.
Fishbone Bar & Grill was Bat-
terbury's ''local favourite'' for its
''good quality, honest and consistent
food in a good atmosphere'' -- a
''lively joint where the interior decor
was as sparklingly fresh as the
celebrated seafood they serve''.
Atlas Beer Cafe was his favourite
late night spot. ''That's my social
haven -- my escape from reality - for
a quiet beer after work.''
The place he frequented most often
was Kappa Sushi --
Japanese food in town''.
Naturally Queenstown's legendary
Fergburger got the big tick from
Meredith recommended MasterChef
Josh Emett's new Rata Restaurant.
Queenstown came out tops with 13
restaurants and cafes named, closely
behind Auckland with 19 chef's
Other top local eateries named in the
book included: @thai, Solera Vino,
Yakitori Daruma, Amisfield Bistro,
Hikari Izakaya, The Bunker, The
Cow and Vudu Cafe and Larder.
Federal Diner was the only Wanaka
restaurant to make the cut.
Putting on the Ritz
in private homes
By SUE FEA
In action: Chef Brendan performing while catering at a 40th birthday party at a
Queenstown home last year.
Photo: VIVIENNE JAMIESON
He's been private chef to
the rich and famous
around the world but
these days Brendan
Downer is happy serving
up his culinary class in
His Queenstown catering
business, 'Chef Brendan'
which he runs with wife,
Jo, an experienced front-
event manager, is ''all
about sculpting cuisine,
to clients' personal tastes,
and seamless events''.
English-born, the 44-year-
old's 28-year cooking
career began in a local
British seafood res-
taurant, aged just 14.
Since then he's been
private chef to everyone
from stars like Elton
John and Mick Jagger to presidents on private
super-yachts, as well as a stint locally at
Glenorchy's exclusive Blanket Bay.
His new business launched last summer now
hosts everything from large stylish weddings and
events to glamorous cocktail parties and
personalised in-home dining, catering for groups
from two to 200.
''It's very attainable. I'm trying to encourage
everyone to try having a private chef-prepared
dinner in their own home with a nice bottle of
wine. It can be better value than paying for cabs
and babysitters to go to a restaurant in town.''
Chef Brendan said if you do the maths a meal out
in a nice restaurant with wine could easily cost
$150 per head and he and his wife, Jo, serve people
at home for anything from $85 up to $180 per head,
depending on menu choices.
A Melbourne couple recently hired him to cook
them a six-course wedding anniversary dinner
matched with wine in their rented holiday home.
Weddings are a growing market as are corporate
''We do marquees, homes, barns, picnics.
Everything is attainable.''
Downer may have looked after celebrities,
presidents and super-rich billionaires, but he's
adamant everyone gets the same service and level
The Queenstown, Southern Lakes and Central
Otago region has a wealth of amazing quality
''I'm into preserving my own fruits and chutneys.
I served apricot and peach tarts last year all
Chef Brendan, who's travelled to 40 countries in
his career, said the key is knowing where his
guests are from and what foods they love.
''Food can get too overly complicated but
beautifully prepared, great ingredients speak for
As solo chef for the likes of Italian Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi and Russian Chelsea football
club owner Roman Abramovich, he had to be both
resourceful and very organised.
''If you're way out at sea and somebody wants a
souffle´ or hand-rolled sushi then you have to
Araxi Restaurant in Whistler, Canada, would be
one of ''the most professionally rounded''
hospitality businesses he has ever worked for. He
was executive chef there for four years working in
luxury lodges and fine dining restaurants in
The Downers also managed an 8-bedroom villa,
Yemanja, on 2-hectares, with 14 staff, four
swimming pools, a boat and captain, for a wealthy
American family on the exclusive Caribbean
island of Mustique.
Now settled in Queenstown, Chef Brendan is
hoping to expand his cooking classes and
He also hopes to do more kitchen design
consultancy work locally.
Chef Brendan's Lemon Tart
and Fresh Raspberries
175g icing sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1G2 eggs
400g castor sugar
5 lemons (juice of 5, zest of 2)
250ml double cream
1. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl,
work in the butter, add lemon zest and the
eggs. Knead the mixture to a smooth dough,
wrap in plastic and rest in fridge for at least
2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
3. Grease a 20 x 3.75 cm deep flan tin with a
removable base. Roll out the pastry and line
the tin allowing an overhang of not less than 1
4. Line the pastry case with baking paper and
fill with baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the beans and baking paper, trim the
pastry and bake for a further 10 minutes.
5. Whisk the eggs with the castor sugar and
lemon zest in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in
the lemon juice, add the cream. Skim any
froth from the top.
6. Reduce the oven temperature 120°C. Pour
the cold filling into the hot pastry case. Bake
for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven,
leave to cool and set for about an hour.
7. Serve with wonderful fresh local
raspberries, a drizzle of honey and a spoon of
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