Last night I attended one of the Matariki events – a wananga a kai with Chef Charles Royal. I so thoroughly enjoyed it. He is an incredibly nice man and was so willing to share his knowledge and experiences. He explained how he came to be running Kinaki NZ and why he is so passionate about food – and kai Maori, in particular.
Of particular interest to me was his assertion (based on the Slow Food movement) that a culture needs to have its food to maintain its identity – and that having access to the ingredients is key! So true and so interesting…
We had kawakawa tea and pikopiko and he discussed (sustainable) harvesting, cooking and drying pikopiko – as well as the business he runs with whanau supplying it to our hospitality industry (and considering export, too). I need to find my notes to list the entire menu – and what else he said… really interesting, exciting, and tasty
Chef Charles Royal: Maori Food, Kinaki Wild Herbs
His site (still in construction) has information on Traditional Maori cookery, explaining, for example that: “Before the arrival of Pakeha (fair skinned people), Maori had no metal or ceramic cooking vessels. Methods of cookery were severely limited the only containers to hold liquid were Hue (gourds) Wooden Bowls Or Vessels made from stone.
Maori understood the perfection of wet steam & smoke (Hangi). Maori could roast and bake in the open fire and bake in hot ashes. They could grill on hot stones but had no means of frying, nor did they bake or pot roast in dry heat. The diet was light on protein and included no grain- food products as a carbohydrate base.”