dish catches up with author, chef, broadcaster and culinary adventure guide Peta Mathias, who’s doing isolation with her usual panache.
Where are you right now?
I’m in Auckland - was supposed to fly to Vietnam today [March 27] for my culinary tour. Don't know when I'll be able to go to my other French life as France is in really bad shape. Uzès [where Peta has a house] is a ghost town.
Who’s in your isolation bubble?
I am alone except for a mouse who is practising extreme social isolation. My neighbours are close and we talk every day. My nephew-in-law Sam does my supermarket shopping, drops it at the front door, texts me then I stand at the door, he sits in his car and we talk. He and my niece give me loving cards and hard copy photos of my gorgeous great-nephew Charlie who I really miss smooching. My family and friends are doing lots of hilarious communal Skype, FaceTime and Zoom cocktail meetings.
Any projects for the next four weeks?
I put lipstick on every day, dress in something beautiful and keep a routine (online yoga etc). Fortunately I am writing a book so I have lots to do - it's on fashion and clothing. I have also started recording uplifting videos where I talk about fashion, food, travel, read from my latest book Eat Your Heart Out, answer agony aunt questions, sing songs, cook recipes. You can find these on Facebook, Instagram and my YouTube channel.
What’s on your reading/podcast/movie list?
I'm watching lots of Netflix like Line of Duty, Schitt’s Creek, any Scandi noir I can find. I am reading all the half-finished books on my bedside table, office desk and loungeroom table. I am researching fashion so reading a fabulous, rather intellectual book called Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes by Shahidha Bari. Also The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes - set in the rollicking Parisian Belle Époque - about the pioneering surgeon Samuel-Jean Pozzi - his ideas, his love life and his gossip.
What’s in your larder? Do you have 20 cans of chickpeas and one carrot or are you pretty sorted?
Funnily enough, I did run out and buy chickpeas and tahini because I'm in love with hummus. I haven't stocked up hugely because I don't feel I need to. I have lots of pasta, sauces, frozen meals, rice, lentils, bread, tinned tuna, flour and sugar.
What are you glad/regretting you stocked up on?
I am REALLY glad I stocked up on Nespresso capsules and wine but regret not buying enough gin - a month talking to myself and the mouse is a long time. Also glad I bought a tripod last week for my videos. Bit worried about the hair colour situation.
Who’s doing the cooking?
Me and it's simple - fabulous salads, fruit, sourdough sandwiches and pasta mostly. I made a great salad the other day from what I had in the cupboard - boiled Māori potatoes and eggs, Curious Croppers cherry tomatoes, capers, parsley, a drizzle of mayonnaise and a drizzle of vinaigrette.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when isolation ends?
Cease all this compulsive communicating and sharing, kiss and hug my great-nephew for a whole week, have lots of dinner parties, reflect on what I've learned about myself and how this has changed the world (hopefully and probably something good will come of it).
Visit Peta's website here.