Karli’s Spunky Standout

Karli Maniapoto reinvented the classic banana split for her entry in Waikato Food Inc’s inaugural Donovans Chocolate Challenge. And she came up with a winner. She named her decadent dessert Spunky Monkey, it went onto the menu at Matamata’s Redoubt Bar & Eatery, where she is sous chef. The competition ran March 29-April 11, the […]

Creating new Kiwi classics

Denise Irvine goes back to her culinary roots at Roto-o-rangi. Only this time, it’s top chef Ben Bayly cooking dinner. I grew up on a sheep farm at rural Roto-o-rangi, between Cambridge and Te Awamutu, and the food on my plate was classic New Zealand: tender roast lamb, basted in pan drippings, vegetables fresh from […]

Faces of Feast – Glen File

Denise Irvine talks to some of the faces of Feast, this time Glen File About: Glen File trained as a chef at Waikato Polytechnic [now Wintec], with chef Ben Bayly as his first-year benchmate. Glen has had a wealth of experience overseas, he’s won accolades for his work, he is a former head chef of […]

Getting the scoop on Kōwhai Creamery

Denise Irvine stops for gelato in Matamata On a boiling hot Waikato summer day, one of the coolest things to eat is Kōwhai Creamery’s Velluto Blueberry Gelato. It’s deliciously smooth and velvety, and the slightly acidic blueberries cut the richness at a perfect point on the palate. I’m in gelato heaven, chasing the last purple-pink […]

Sage advice: check this place out

You’ll love it, says Denise Irvine You could drift into speciality beer bar Craft on Hamilton’s Hood St, expect to have maybe pizza or burger and fries to offset the brews, and be so wrong. You’ve actually found one of the city’s best-kept culinary secrets, Sage Kitchen, which does the food at Craft, offering a […]

Making a seamless switch

Denise Irvine talks to GG’s Café’s new-ish owners about buying a local treasure When I heard that Hamilton East’s GG’s Café’ had been sold, I thought, “oh no, how will that work? GG’s, of course, is the tucked-away eatery in Lovegrove Lane, off Grey St. Originally named Grey Gardens, it has a singular charm: a […]

Waikato Blues

Once upon a time, blueberries were a rare frozen import in New Zealand and the best thing to do with them was make muffins for a sweet-tart result. Or maybe a blueberry and apple pie, channelling an American dessert staple, or blueberry jam. Not much else, though. By the 21st Century, we’d got to know […]

Asian flavours top of the table

Winners of Waikato Food Inc’s Best Cheap Eats Award were all out of Asia: The Chilli House took the top title and finalists were Japanese Donburi-Ya and Garden Place Noodle House. Denise Irvine compiled a quick guide to three much-loved CBD eateries. The Chilli House Need to know: you probably need to book a table […]

Wild Country – Celebrating 25 years

They started small, they’ve built big reputations: Denise Irvine visits two much-loved Waikato artisan businesses marking their 25th anniversary, this time Wild Country ‘We’re always looking to create something different’ Lunch today is slow-cooked lamb shoulder, served with fresh green salad and Volare bread, and the bit on the side that makes the plate and […]