The day I met the most popular chef in Christchurch, New Zealand was just another long and crazy day for me, but one I would remember for a lifetime!
After sleeping in the back of my car and using public toilets to clean up before bed. I left Wellington in the early morning and drove to the port to take a ferry crossing from the north to the south island. My first stop in New Zealand’s south island was Kaikoura. I enjoyed the stunning views along the coast plus a very friendly greeting from wild seals. I decided to spend a $25 night for a dorm room because I needed a warm shower.
Kaikoura is a well-known town for marine wildlife. It was a pity that I didn’t have enough time to explore this area. A more important mission awaited me. It was a cozy bed in a private room!
I headed from Kaikoura to Christchurch. It was the season for white bait fishing so as drove further along the coast, I noticed fisherman trying to catch this kind of fish.
Getting to Christchurch was not as easy as I thought. I left town around 10am. My host told me It was about 100 Km away from Kaikoura but actually it was about 160 km. Two hours to drive 160 km seems to be an easy task. But……
Everything in Christchurch was different, many roads were closed and it was my first time driving there! So yes, it was exciting and adventurous. I was quite stressed because I knew that the making the first impression on my host was important.
So how did I find my host whom I had never met before?
Well, I used a map plus a sense of direction! I was used to navigating this as I did it all the time.
Tama was the first one to come out and greet me. Actually he knew that I would not find the house as the address was hidden in a private area.
Wowww… What a big house I thought. It was a very lovely house in a super nice area, which would have been prefect before the big earthquake. The house was made from kauri wood which resisted the effects of the earthquake. That was the only reason this house was still standing, while the neighborhood bridge and other houses were collapsed.
No more time to discuss the earthquake. Tama, Desley and Dale had an appointment. They told me to come before noon and I just made it on time. So after I moved my stuff into my nice, new private room, we hopped into the car and drove to another place which I had no idea about.
I did later get some more information about earthquake from Dale (Desley’s brother) while Tama drove. Lot of places were destroyed by this earthquake. In total, 185 people were killed in the earthquake, making it the second-deadliest natural disaster recorded in New Zealand. Many people moved out. Not Tama and Desley because they have a business in this town.
Once again I found my hosts were business people. They owned a restaurant called Burger N Beers, and I was to accompany them on their visit to an important partner “Andrew Brown” who had the important position of running their restaurant in his role as a chef.
What an unforgettable lifetime experience!
I was given the chance to meet one of the most popular chefs in Christchurch, who working as an executive chef at The George Hotel. It is a five star hotel in the middle of a ruined city.
It was a bit of an awkward afternoon among Tama and Desley’s family and friends. There were about ten New Zealanders and only one Thai guy. They invited me to join barbecue and Andrew made a whitebait omelet which I had never tried it before.
I was about to adjust my behavior and adapt myself into the group, as Tama’s colleagues looked a bit like gangsters, but yeahhh that was fine by me.
After drinking some whiskey, Tama came out with his bad sense of humor by asking a new question;
He walked like a mafia gang member and put his hands on the shoulders of the guys who sat near him. His question was clear and loud enough to make people laugh.
Do you like men?
Damn it!!! He did it one by one and it was about my turn……
Well, finally I had to play this game. I took a risk and answered him.
Yes, I like you. So tonight we’ll have a good time together.
Hahahahahahah….I did break the ice.
This is Tama and Desley’s restaurants. : http://www.burgersandbeersinc.co.nz/about-us/
Ps. I have not taken any photos of Andrew’s private party. But I took some VDO. I would put it here soon when I have time to do it.
Andrew Brown Appointed Executive Chef at The George Hotel,
Christchurch, New Zealand
June 13, 2007 – Andrew Brown has been appointed new Executive Chef at The George hotel, Christchurch.
He has just returned from the United States, competing with the New Zealand Culinary Team at one of the world’s top culinary competitions, the American Culinary Classic in Chicago.
Andrew has been Executive Chef at the Millennium hotel, Christchurch for the past five years and prior to that was head chef at the award-wining Nor’Wester Café and Bar at Amberley in the Waipara wine region of Canterbury. He has catered for royalty and has received numerous culinary awards.
He will head a team of 15 extremely talented chefs at The George, including Executive Sous-Chef, Guy Stanaway who is the current Salon Culinaire South Island Chef of the Year.
Bruce Garrett, The George’s General Manager said he was delighted to welcome Andrew Brown to the helm of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants, where past Executive Chefs have included Hamish Brown and Rick Rutledge-Manning.