Simple, clean, fresh and seasonal is how Riverstone Kitchen chef/owner and Bite contributor Bevan Smith describes his cooking. Bevan, whose North Otago restaurant won Cuisine magazine’s 2010 national award for Best Restaurant, started cooking by watching and learning from his mum. He has just recleased his second cookbook Riverstone Kitchen Another Helping.
What’s your earliest food memory?
Eating feijoas with a spoon under the feijoa hedge at Gran’s place in Northland.
Where do you draw your culinary inspiration?
The changing seasons and what is at its best at a particular time of year.
Who is your cooking idol?
Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray from [London’s] The River Café.
What is your greatest cooking achievement to date?
Running a successful restaurant and maintaining my sanity!
What’s your favourite meal?
Pan-fried sole with wet polenta, chilli, garlic and lemon.
What’s been your biggest kitchen disaster?
Serving an over-complicated Christmas dinner at 11pm to [wife] Monique’s parents early on in our relationship (they were really good about it!).
If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Sicily because it’s beautiful and the food is so real.
What are your kitchen must haves?
Maldon sea salt, good olive oil and parmesan.
Why do you love cooking?
I love to eat and I can travel around the world through what I eat.
Who is your dream dinner guest?
Former bosses so they can see what we’re up to now.