716 Interviews – Peta Mathias Interview

14.10.13 - Guillaume - 716lavie
Peta Mathias est une célébrité de la cuisine en Nouvelle Zélande: émissions télés, livres et j’en passe.
Elle a accepté de répondre aux questions de 716 et je l’en remercie, voici son point de vue sur la gastronomie en Nouvelle Zélande, on est libres d’adhérer ou non à ses points de vue sur la cuisine française.
Peta Mathias is a celebrity : tv shows, books, etc… She has accepted to answer my questions and I thank her for that, here is her point of view about the gastronomy in New Zealand, every one feels free to agree or not with her statements about French cuisine.
1) Hello Peta, you’ve done so many things, it is hard to resume, but can you at least tell us what you’re doing the most today ?

I make food/travel television, teach cooking, host culinary tours all over the world, write an Agony Aunt column, perform live one woman stage shows and am presently in India hosting culinary tours and writing a book on Indian food with Julie Le Clerc taking the photos.
2) I’d like to ask you how you see the differences between the Kiwi and the French approach to cuisine ?The main difference is that NZ is not trapped in the grip of tradition like the French – we’re inventive, don’t like rules and will try to think outside the square. In 1984 NZ farmers were shorn of government subsidies and through sheer skill and hard work, made their farms thrive. We are among the least subsidised and the most productive in the world and when people look at the U.S. and Europe they can’t understand how NZ does it. I was in Paris a month ago and the chefs doing the most innovative cuisine are Australians e.g.’ Bones’.3) How did you see the evolution of the Food kiwi scene the last 15 years ?New Zealand food and cooking have moved from being the embarrassing cousin to the glamorous aunt in the space of half a generation. We still love our meat pies, fish and chips, roast dinners and beer, but because we are an island – separated from the rest of the world by oceans of delicious fish and seafood, we finally made a huge effort to bring the outside in. What about our Pacific Rose apple – we invented this apple – one of the most delicious in the world.

4) What are, according to you, the good and the bad aspects of the kiwi food scene ?

We care about taste in NZ. We love the land, have a pride in craftsmanship and a strong sense of integrity. New Zealanders have one of the most adventurous national palates I know of – we will try anything and understand and respect the meaning of the word ‘flavour’. It’s hard to impress us when we travel. The down side is we still suffer from insecurity and believe everyone else cooks better than us.

5) How do you see the évolution of the kiwi cuisine scene in the future ?

The big trends in terms of food products are that the privileged world now lives to eat rather than eats to live. People are living longer, are more affluent and are more frequently eating for pleasure and demanding upmarket, sophisticated products – lots of niche markets are being created. They want a peak experience – they want to die with only the memories of the great meals they have eaten. Who would have thought that boring old salt would become a designer product in NZ? The message is you have to eat seasonal and buy local because local growers are our lifeblood and that show up in the cuisine.

6) Is there anything you’d like to add ?

If we lose the myriad tastes of regional New Zealand produce and don’t eat food at its optimal ripeness, then we lose whatever food culture we inherited. We have very alive, inventive, clean cuisine and what NZ cooks say in answer to the secret of their success is: decide what your principles are and never compromise them, treat others as you would like to be treated and operate with integrity.

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