Monthly Archives: May 2011

Madhur Jaffrey High Tea in Te Horo | Murray Lloyd Photography

Guests mingled in anticipation of the arrival of food royalty, Madhur Jaffrey to a book signing at Ruth Pretty’s Garden Room.  Imbibing hot spiced tea and munching muthries the gathering perused a selection of Jaffrey’s  extensive range of cookbooks.

Having arrived at Wellington airport only a couple of hours previous the spritely 78 year old was greeted with loud applause.  She then spoke eloquently about her personal and public life.  Meanwhile exotic food and drinks circulated.  The recipes including  dates, seekh lamb kebabs, cheera and shaka para were each from a different Madhur Jaffrey cookbook.

The golden sun enriched the already vibrant colours of the Garden Room, decorated for the occasion by the Ruth Pretty Catering crew.  The setting struck a poignant note when Jaffrey said her biggest regret is not spending as much time as she would like in her own garden.

Portrait of Sushi Chef Jeremy Wilson in restaurant in Wellington.

Eating fresh Eel in Wellington | Murray Lloyd Photography

Screaming Roll is the name Jeremy Wilson gave his eel inspired Californian roll I photographed at the Shinobi Sushi Lounge in Wellington.

Wilson was importing processed eels from Japan but was on the lookout for a local supply of fresh eels to marinade in his kabayaki method. The flavoured imports limited Jeremy’s menu options and he has since sourced shortfin eels from the Levin Eel Factory. Although it seems more sustainable to source local produce, the harvest of  a diminishing population of eels in New Zealand raises sensitivities of a different kind.

Although both the  longfin eel and the shortfin eel are threatened, research shows the shortfin is New Zealand’s most tolerant native fish species (this might not be saying much). At the restaurant Wilson also tried to sway his diners to eat more sustainable fish by selecting less fashionable species such as warehou, moki, gurnard and pilchard.

Restaurants are at the coalface of changing public attitudes about where food comes from. It was good to see restaurants like Shinobi Sushi Lounge supporting the idea we have to be more aware of what we are eating (and giving us great food).

Shinobi Sushi Lounge is now closed.

Please click any photo to view slide show.