After taking out the latest season of MasterChef NZ, Tim Read has put pen to paper and created a book filled with recipes that speak to his passion for hunting and gathering fresh ingredients from the land and sea. We asked him a few questions about his new book, his style of food and what you could expect to find on his table if you visited for dinner.
Can you explain how your love of the outdoors has influenced your food philosophy?
It's the whole reason I got into food so it's the main influence: it dictates what I cook and how I cook. I love the process of field to table and the experiences and memories that get created along the way. For me, it's those experiences and memories that give food its power of bringing people together.
What are some of your most important food memories?
All the best memories I have are the big meals where friends or family have all piled in and around the kitchen to prep, before eating together around the table.
How did your time on MasterChef change your style or approach to cooking?
It was more that it cemented and extended an idea that I believed in rather than changed my approach. The field-to-table process was just about enjoyment for me, but on the show I discovered that being a part of the process not only is enjoyable but actually ensures quality of produce which will invariably make better food.
If you’ve got a group of friends on their way for dinner, what’s your go-to meal?
Oh gosh, at the moment it would be a boned-out lamb shoulder on the barbecue and hotdog buns with sauces and a fresh slaw. It's really easy, feeds a crowd and I love barbecued lamb.
Do you have any tips for aspiring cooks?
I'd encourage them to find what they love about cooking and keep doing it. I'm learning there's plenty of stuff in the food industry that's hard work but from a young age if you can figure out what you truly love then as you get into the industry, you look for the opportunities that make the most of that. Also, what we like to do is often what we're also good at.
What ingredients are you finding inspiring at the moment?
Despite the ocean getting colder and slightly less productive I'm still getting heaps, if not more, inspiration from what's inside it at the moment. I'm playing with seaweed, a lot of smoked kahawai and mussels in particular which is fun.
What are some of your favourite recipes from your new book?
I love oysters so the Ginger Beer Tempura Oyster Sliders will always be a favourite of mine. Current favourites are also the Lamb Neck Papardelle and the Bacon Hock, Pine Nut and Cress Ravioli.