Five questions: Kathy Paterson

Kathy Paterson is a cookbook author, recipe developer, food stylist, self-taught photographer and ex President of Food Writers New Zealand. She has been a regular contributor to some of New Zealand’s best loved publications for many years.

What are your first memories of being really interested in food?
From a very early age, sitting on the bench watching my mother cook beside me. 

At what point, and how, did you make a career out of it?
Hotel chef training didn’t really appeal, so I used to go to every cooking class I could find (mostly night classes back then!). At one class they had a brochure for the just opened Cordon Bleu Cookery School in Parnell, Auckland. I booked on straightaway and secured a place in the second intake.  Three months later I came out with a certificate and the offer to go back as a trainee teacher. Not much training I would like to add – just chucked in the deep end. However, as part of it they did send me over to London where I taught at Winkfield House, their school in Windsor and also in Central London at the Marylebone High Street School – an incredible experience.

What is your favourite part of recipe development?
Doing the research – trawling through books and online for inspiration. I have a stack of printed recipe sheets on the kitchen table that I’m cooking through one by one.

What is one of your most memorable food/dining experiences? 
At the end of last year on a whirlwind trip to Sydney, I managed to get a table at Saint Peter. I adore eating fish (and cooking it), and owner/chef Josh Niland has a respectful, groundbreaking and unique approach to working with fish. If you are ready to try Australian seafood species that are less well known then this is the place to go (when the border reopens).  One highlight of the night was the barbecued Murrumbidgee murray cod, burnt tomato, marjoram and garlic mayonnaise with harissa-barbecued zucchini. The cod was the best cod of my life. I can still remember the succulent flesh and I’ll never forget that crispy skin.

I’ve just had a message from Saint Peter saying that they are reopening, having made some significant and exciting new changes to the dining style at the restaurant.  There will be a long counter lined with comfortable stools capable of seating 20 guests. You’ll be able to watch the night unfold from the best seats in the house. Fortunately they are taking bookings.

You’ve recently spent quite a bit of time on Cosy, the cookbook. Tell us a bit more about the charity it supports?

Meat the Need – from our whanau to yours – is a new charity that Food Writers New Zealand hope to help by assisting with their running costs. Their objective is to enable farmers to donate an animal so the country’s most vulnerable can have meat on the table.

Farmers behind the charity Wayne Langford and Siobhan O’Malley are calling on their peers to get in behind the venture – and they have.  Farmers can donate cattle, sheep or deer to the charity via its website with transport and normal meat processing forms and information organised online.

Meat processor Silver Fern Farms plays its part by taking the donated animals and converting their value into 500g meat parcels that will be sent to food banks, City Missions and organisations that help feed the hungry.

The first delivery of 5000 packs of meat was delivered to the Christchurch City Mission on April 23.

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