With an impressive resume beginning at two hatted restaurant Sydney Assiette, Rob Te Whaiti has experienced some seriously cool kitchens all over the world. He's even cooked for Madonna! Rob recently joined the team at The Bellevue in Paddington and has totally revamped the menu, taking it to new heights - you'll have to check it out!
A lover of maple glazed bacon, Australian pork and a old big sweet tooth this gun chef is quite a character - and we can't wait for you to meet him!
Today, we’re in the kitchen with...
Rob Te Whaiti, Chef at The Bellevue in Paddington.
1. What’s your secret food vice?
My secret food vice is either a Cafe De Wheels pie with mash, crushed peas and gravy, or anything with chocolate, as a have a huge sweet tooth. Just ask my dentist. lol
2. Favourite weird and wonderful food combination?
I guess there is a few combinations that I love, and don't sound weird to me, but to others they may sound unusual. Firstly I have to put salt with Chocolate. Even with the pastry menu current, I always add a little salt. It brings out the sweetness and flavour out in so many things. For a special occasion breakfast, I love maple glazed bacon on waffles, or on pretty much anything sweet and savoury. Marmite (the NZ Vegemite), cheese and Avo on crackers or sandwich goes down pretty well too.
3. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?
I've thought about this question a lot and I really can't see myself doing anything else other than cooking. Its all I've ever done for as long as i can remember. If you ask my mum she would say that I had my mind made up when I was able to walk. I would be able to open the fridge and grab an apple. By 4 years of age I was able to heat up canned spaghetti and toast. To answer the question, if I weren't a chef, I would be doing something with food or my hands. Maybe a Vegetable Farmer or a Carpenter, as I loved wood work classes at high school.
4. What’s the “must have” dish at The Bellevue?
At the moment the must have dish is the Suckling pig with parsnips and clams. I am a lover of good Australian pork. And this dish is a pork lovers paradise. With at least 3 cuts. We break down the pig into small pieces and crispy it up in a pan with sage, ginger and butter. We make a sauce from the bones, which we use to heat the clams and some small offal parts (tongue and ear). We cook parsnip pieces in ham hock stock, and also make a creamy parsnip puree. Its garnished with woodland sorrel, which is a tart herb and that cuts through the richness, and pork crackling.
5. What's your mum's best dish?
The best dish my mum makes would probably be her New Zealand Lamb leg roast with all the trimmings, including mint sauce, roasties, parsnip and carrot crush, peas and her home made gravy.
6. My most memorable moment in a restaurant was at….
One of my most memorable moments would have to be when I was in London at The Arts Club and I was working a very busy Saturday night service and a check came through the printer saying VIP MADONNA.