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April 26, 2024 - Gastronomy, Experience

A chef at your table

This April, visit The Shed and you’ll be treated to a unique Meet the Chef experience.

Chef Momo joined Cloudy Bay in 2023 and has quickly established a reputation for balancing innovative techniques with a love of simple, flavourful food. Now you have a chance to meet the chef and get to learn a little more about him and his approach to food.

From 24th April - 12th May, The Shed is serving Taste of Autumn, a 3-course wine paired lunch with several specialty dishes of Chef Momo’s creation. Each table of guests who order the menu will receive a visit from Chef Momo to talk all things food and wine.

You’ll find full details and a booking link at the end of this page - scroll down now to book, or continue reading for an interview with Chef Momo.

Ahead of the Taste of Autumn menu launch, we sat down with the busy chef and asked him a few questions.

Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a chef?

Ever since I was a child, I was always fond of food and cooking. Growing up, I observed my grandmother effortlessly creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients, and those flavours left a mark on my memory. I always wanted to cook like her. Simple humble and bursting with flavours. Thus, I embarked on a journey to study and understand food and its pairings.

After completing my school in Nepal, I realised that I needed to expand my knowledge further which led me to New Zealand. For almost a decade now, I have been residing in this beautiful part of the world and exploring new ingredients and innovative cooking techniques.

What excites you about cooking for people?

In my opinion, food is an essential requirement that every household must cater to three times a day, seven days a week. With this in mind, I aspire to cook for others with simplicity and sincerity, aiming to leave a lasting imprint of flavours on their memories, much like it has for me. Moreover, cooking is a great way of communicating, exchanging knowledge, and caring for people–what we commonly refer to as hospitality. I was raised in a culture where we always value guests and never let guests sleep or leave hungry.

What’s your most memorable dining experience, and why?

I have a genuine appreciation for simple, flavourful food, and I make a point to dine out and learn from every culinary experience. However, my visit to Mapu in Christchurch exceeded all expectations. Chef Sturla and his style of cooking and respecting the flavours are so unique and so humble at the same time.

I deeply admire Chef Sturla’s commitment to sourcing ingredients locally, growing and even foraging them when possible. This is a practice I try to follow myself.

What culinary trends interest you at the moment?

I have always been on the lookout for new techniques, methods, and approaches to create innovative dishes. As a result, I study and adopt various culinary techniques. However, in the past few years, I have focused my attention on expanding my knowledge in dry ageing mostly seafood and fermentation.
The world of dry-ageing seafood has been intriguing and fermentation has become a passion of mine. I am constantly experimenting with different flavours and ingredients to unlock new depth of flavour in my dishes.

What’s your favourite wine and food pairing?

My ultimate food and wine pairing from the current menu undoubtedly features confit duck terrine with Te Wāhi. Both the dishes and wine are carefully crafted to highlight the essence of Central Otago, mirroring the region we proudly call home.

What’s your favourite Shed dish to prepare?

While it's difficult to choose just one favourite from the menu, if I must choose, I would have to say corn holds a special place in my heart. Its simplicity and humble nature are truly captivating, yet it manages to burst with flavours and evoke fond memories of my childhood.

I recall the joy of eating corn from street vendors, seasoned with just a sprinkle of salt and chilli. It's a nostalgic experience that I hold dear.

When you’re designing a new dish or menu, what inspires you?

For me, the primary consideration when it comes to cooking is the season, climate and region. I firmly believe in utilising ingredients that are in season and sourced locally. In New Zealand, we are fortunate to have access to some of the finest ingredients, both from the land and the sea. It is only logical to make the most of these local treasures to support our community and prioritise freshness in our dishes.

Furthermore, as a Nepalese individual, I am drawn to incorporate techniques and flavours from my heritage into my cooking. These elements are deeply meaningful to me and serve as a way to connect with my cultural roots while also adding a unique and personal touch to the dishes I create.

Can you tell us anything about the special menu items you’ll be making for this event?

I am focusing on offerings on our menu, incorporating both existing and new creations that reflect my culinary journey and expanding expertise. One of which is dry-aged kingfish served alongside infused fennel and leche de tiger.

This dish reflects my knowledge and experience in the culinary world. The dry ageing process enhances the flavour and texture of the fish. Accompanied by infused fennel, which adds a delicate yet distinctive aroma, and leche de tiger, a vibrant and tangy Peruvian marinate, the dish embodies a fusion of flavours and techniques that represent my ongoing experimentation in the kitchen.

About the Taste of Autumn event

Taste of Autumn is a sharing menu for two. Bookings are essential, so book now at the link below.

Dates: 24th April – 12th May during usual operating hours, Wed-Sun, 11:30am-3:00pm
• 3-course wine paired lunch for two
• $250 per pair of diners
• 90min reservation
• Meet The Chef – Chef Momo to meet each table who orders this menu.

12 May - 12 May-undefined
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