Lauraine Jacobs

Food & Wine Writer

Lauraine’s blog

20 December 2020

SUMMER CUISINE AND A FOODIE CHALLENGE

I spent 22 years at Cuisine, happy there until the last year when we had an editor who knew little about wine, less about writing and even less about food and how to cook. In the inevitable clash I lost one the best parts of my life as I was passionate about that magazine. That editor returned to Australia not long after my departure and the magazine was never quite the same as in its early heyday when Ms J Dalzell was owner, publisher and editor.

Eleven years have passed and I can confidently say that the latest issue is THE BEST magazine published since I left. Not only is the cover bold and up there with many amazing covers of the past (remember the tag line – We Do Amazing Things) but the content nails the world of the food lover. The recipes are exactly what we all need for the summer – simple yet sophisticated and original without being too clever. I can almost feel myself wanting to dip my fingers into the stunning photographs and lick them clean. I can’t wait to cook Asher Boot’s roast chook with sage and onion stuffing (it’s that spiced butter to slather on after the chook is cooked that really appeals), or Ginny Grant’s clever tomato tonnato, or Emma Galloway’s mango and lime crumble cake (perfect in the tin for a picnic) and every single dish from Sean Connolly’s new Esther restaurant. Everything looks pretty, easy, and nothing is ‘cheffy.’

But there’s far more to food than recipes. Cuisine is now in the same position as the old days. The editor, Kelli Brett is co-owner, and publisher too. She is smart and sassy (even called her publishing company Slick & Sassy Media), she has that boldness that many Australians have, but most importantly she is totally passionate about New Zealand and our good food. In Cuisine's 33 year history no editor has been quite as obsessed about fabulous food as Kelli.

So not only is this a magazine to cook from, it’s got a heap of reading to do too. ‘The Cuisine 100 Tastes of New Zealand’ is breath taking in its accuracy, its innovation and its deep dive into all manner of things connected to food from cheeses, oysters, meats, ice creams and other favourites to books, shops, plates, drinks and more. (I am rather embarrassed to write my latest book is there – Always Delicious. I nearly fell over and broke my wrist again when I spotted that in the list. In very distinguished company too, with Hiakai and Eat Up New Zealand.)

The Crispy Bites is jam packed with restaurant news, the reviews are delivered in the casual get-to-know-this-restaurant style that does not judge but instead tells you exactly why you need to get to these places, and there’s a great guide to summer drinking with the best sauvignon blanc and rosé wines that will be perfect for my summer. And right at the end is a straight from the heart essay from Sean Golding, one of the owners of the excellent Shepherd restaurant in Wellington. He explains exactly why he and co-owner Shepherd Elliot refigured their restaurant and raised prices but never lost a customer. The true price of food is in the ingredients and that without profits, a business, or a grower, or a supplier, is not sustainable. Plenty of food – for thought too.

I defy any person who considers themselves well steeped in our New Zealand food lore and the culinary scene to read every word in this issue and tell me there’s not something new they have learned. Go on. Do it. There’s your challenge.