I know from my childhood and subsequent travels that sharing distinctive food is a great way to create strong bonds among people. That’s why we invited Hawaii culinary star Chef Mavro (George Mavrothalassitis) to cook at our Independence Day events in Auckland and Wellington. As we expected, our guests were delighted by Chef Mavro’s larger-than-life personality, engaging charm, and creative interpretations of traditional regional recipes. His ahi poke and confit salmon lomilomi disappeared particularly quickly.

It’s clear that Chef Mavro thoroughly enjoyed his first visit to Aotearoa. As he said before he flew home, ”I’ve been especially impressed by the warmth of the people in New Zealand. And all of my restaurant meals and the wines in Auckland and Wellington have been outstanding. I’m planning to look for a bach rental and come back in the summer for some fishing!”

Chef Marvo.

With Chef Mavro in Wellington.

Chef Mavro moved from Marseilles to Honolulu 23 years ago, and he was immediately inspired by Hawaii’s multi-ethnic people and culinary traditions. Those inspirations drive his approach to food. The menu at his restaurant is reinvented each season as the culinary team works hand-in-hand with local farmers to bring new products to the table and to develop innovative techniques that enhance the natural flavors of Hawaii’s bounty.

As Chef Mavro says, “Sometimes buying local means the cost is higher and it takes more time, but local farmers succeed and my guests enjoy fresh, regional ingredients and a dining experience they could have only in Hawaii.” His approach has drawn numerous accolades, including the James Beard award for Best Chef in the Pacific Northwest / Hawaii and a place on Gayot’s list of the top 40 restaurants in the US.

For home-cooking recipes, culinary tips, restaurant updates, and other information, you can follow the Chef on Twitter and Facebook. And I’ll let you know when he next comes to New Zealand to cook.

DH Sig