Monthly Archives: October 2011

Al Brown talking at Ruth Pretty's Springfield in NZ.

Al Brown Fires up at Springfield | Murray Lloyd Photography

Fresh from opening Depot – his Auckland restaurant, Al Brown arrived at Ruth Pretty’s garden room to promote his new book Stoked.

Al Brown's book Stoked - cooking with fire

In front of a small gathering in his trademark laid back style Brown talked about his backyard, his TV show, and more.

Al Brown and Ruth Pretty

As guests ate their way through tasty morsels including chargrilled tuatuas (actually it was a gas barbeque), smoked kahawai potato cakes and marshmellow caramel muesli slice, Brown explained his philosophy on food.

Barbecued Tuatuas

It’s about savouring the journey to the plate; the prep, slowing down and enjoying. “By the time food arrives on a plate its dead”.  Fitting with this philosophy Stoked is about cooking on an open fire (preferably your own hunter-gathered produce). A stark contrast he says to books of recipes containing only four ingredients, ten minute meals, and frozen sushi.

Al Brown talking at Ruth Pretty's Springfield in New Zealand.

As Brown munched on a pulled pork sandwich (with apple cider slaw) he described his own backyard on the South Coast of Wellington; the big outdoor fire, a wood-fired oven, a chargrill, a Japanese teppanyaki plate and yet another oven that acts as a warmer.  A set up Brown says was designed “to take cooking classes for Khandallah housewives if the phone didn’t ring after leaving Logan Brown”.

Al Brown's marshmellow caramel slice

Despite a packed programme Brown has created a winning combination in his new Auckland establishment.  Depot seats 70 and is already doing 300-400 meals a day. No dots on plates, formality left at the door and serving wine ‘on tap’ are some of the markers of this fresh restaurant. Underlining Brown’s approach to food, Depot’s current menu includes freshly shucked oysters and cockles, wild pork salami, wild rabbit rillettes, kahawai, snapper, kingfish and food cooked over charcoal or hardwood.

Unfortunately for Wellington, a Depot style restaurant will not be arriving anytime soon.  Brown says this is partly the due to the capital’s smaller population, but also to his vision of expanding into Australia.  The audience left the garden room warm and contented with Stoked. They’ll be lighting their own fires.

Welsh fans in chicken suits at Wales vs Ireland RWC game in Wellington.

Meat and Veges at Rugby WC | Murray Lloyd Photography

Food heros of Welsh culture were spotted amid a sea of green wigs, and floating red dragons at Saturdays RWC game between Wales and the Irish.  The leek, an emblem of Wales since the mid 16 th century, is often referred to in relation to St David’s day on March 1st, but also has links to Welsh rugby (beware nudity).

Lamb (or were they sheep?) is revered in Wales in a similar way to lamb in New Zealand, but maybe the Welsh ruminants provide more entertainment in this video.

Welsh lamb supporter

I am not sure what part of Welsh culture the chicken stands for but the guy on the left arrived in New Zealand with not much more than this suit…

The dragon got hungry – Wales 22, Ireland 10