Top Māori chefs to showcase culinary talents at Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival

By Numia Ponika-Rangi
  • Auckland

Māori chefs will be incorporating indigenous ingredients to some contemporary dishes this weekend at the Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival.

There will be a Māori food kitchen on site to showcase, to feed and to teach people new ways to spice up traditional dishes.

Head chef Grant Kitchen says, "Māori food, Māori methods, taking the traditional and creating something that they can do at home."

The crowds will be in for a few treats and a few surprises too.

He says, "We're doing a hāngi presentation but we're gonna do that in an oven, something that would normally take 4 or 5 hours work, we're gonna do it 45 minutes."

As well as his own skills on show, this Tūwharetoa chef also has team of great chefs in support.

"Nancye Pirini from the Novotel Airport and she's doing a take on Māori steam pudding.  Chef Tim Aspinall margarine sculpture doing a showpiece, and we've got chef Tu Fearn from Harbourside and he'll be presenting some dumplings with pork, prawn and pūhā, and some dipping sauces," says Kitchen.

It's festivals like these that showcase the unique culinary talents of our Māori chefs to the world.

"Trying to get our chefs here in New Zealand recognised overseas has been an absolute mission but it's starting to happen.  One of our main thoughts through the whole process has been to try and create Aotearoa as a culinary destination," he says.