Top New Zealand chefs

Discover some top Kiwi chefs who have helped New Zealand earn the reputation of an international food destination for discerning foodies.

Find out more about these top chefs and where to try their creations.

Peter Gordon

Kiwi celebrity chef Peter Gordon has spent over 20 years ensuring New Zealand cuisine is on the world stage. Now based in Auckland, Peter and his partner Alastair have established what is known to be a New Zealand food embassy. The pair started Homeland(opens in new window) to support New Zealand producers, teach people cooking skills, support local food producers, share recipes from their homelands, and tell food stories to the world.

Arguably, New Zealand’s best-known chef, Peter Gordon, became known as ‘the father of fusion cuisine’ after pioneering the blend of Eastern and Western cuisine styles in the eighties. Gordon, who is of Māori descent and hails from Whanganui on the North Island’s west coast, lived in London for 20 years before moving home to New Zealand in 2020. While in London, he worked with a string of critically acclaimed restaurants around the globe, including the famed The Providores and Tapa Room.

Visit Homeland

Monique Fiso

Monique Fiso, of Māori and Samoan descent, is considered one of New Zealand’s most renowned chefs. Fiso's career in food started as a sandwich hand at the age of 14. Since then, she has years of experience in New York, where she trained at top Michelin star kitchens before returning to New Zealand in 2016. 

Based in Wellington, Monique Fiso owns and operates her own award-winning restaurant, Hiakai(opens in new window), named one of TIME Magazine's 100 Greatest Place of 2019(opens in new window) and Lonely Planet's Top Travel picks for 2021(opens in new window)She has also starred in the Netflix first season of The Final Table and alongside Chef Gordon Ramsay on National Geographic’s UNCHARTED(opens in new window).

Fiso has taken Māori cuisine to another level by combining Māori cooking techniques and ingredients with her Michelin training. Reservations at Hiakai are in hot demand, make sure you book your table well in advance. 

Visit Hiakai restaurant

Josh Emett

New Zealand chef Josh Emett has 30 years of experience and impeccable credentials, working in London, New York, Los Angeles and Melbourne with Gordon Ramsey. Emett's rise to chef stardom has taken him on a global journey to some of the most famous and highly acclaimed eating establishments, where he’s worked with top international chefs, judged MasterChef New Zealand and wowed the rich and famous with his culinary talents.

In February 2020 The Emetts took the reins of The Oyster Inn, the Waiheke institution that’s their first solely-owned restaurant in New Zealand. In October 2020, Josh and Helen opened Onslow, on the ground floor of the International residential building. Situated in the heart of central Auckland, Onslow(opens in new window) is a must-do dining experience that showcases Emett's culinary journey from New York to London and back to Aotearoa.

Dine at Onslow

Karena and Kasey Bird

Masterchef New Zealand's 2014 winners, Karena and Kasey Bird are two sisters from the small Bay of Plenty town of Maketu. 

Born and raised in a tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone, there was never any shortage of sharing fresh fruit, vegetables, and seafood and with food being at the centre of the most important events in their lives, Karena and Kasey's passion for food was imbedded in them from a young age and has helped establish their careers today. 

Since winning Masterchef, Karena and Kasey have self-published two award-winning cookbooks, For the love of..(opens in new window) and Hungry(opens in new window), filmed two seasons of Karena and Kasey's Kitchen Diplomacy(opens in new window), and travelled to over 50 destinations across the world. Their most recent project is The Creation Dinner(opens in new window) which is a unique dining experience that combines storytelling with a delicious 7-course degustation. Showcasing some of New Zealand's world-class food producers and exceptional Māori winemakers.

Karena and Kasey's story

Annabel Langbein

One of New Zealand’s most celebrated chefs with many cookbooks and awards to her name, Langbein promotes a healthy, less complicated way of living, sustained by home-grown, fresh food that is easily prepared and lovingly shared - an example of how life ought to be.

Few cooks can perfect the garden to table cycle as effectively as Annabel Langbein – the New Zealand television chef whose fresh, simple approach to food and life has created an international following.

Learn more about Annabel

Alister Brown (Al Brown)

Alister Brown (better known as Al Brown), is a chef, TV presenter, writer and restaurant-owner and he is one of the best known faces of New Zealand cuisine. 

Since co-founding an iconic Wellington restaurant in 1996, Al Brown's career has diversified into writing cookbooks, television cooking shows, producing food products and, most recently, the establishment of new eateries and food outlets in Auckland.

Now based in Auckland, Brown can be found in any one of his three trendy city centre establishments,  Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar(opens in new window), Best Ugly Bagels(opens in new window) and Federal Delicatessen(opens in new window). Depot and Federal are located in the Federal Street entertainment precinct adjacent to the Sky Tower, and Best Ugly is not far away within the new cafe hub at City Works Depot.

Al Brown and Company

Simon Gault

Away from the television cameras, Masterchef judge Simon Gault is an entrepreneurial chef whose name is associated with a string of top New Zealand restaurants.

As executive chef at Euro(opens in new window) - one of the culinary stars on Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour waterfront strip - Gault saw his establishment included in prestigious US Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s list of top 50 restaurants in the world.

He is executive chef to the Nourish Group which includes day-to-day running of Euro Restaurant and Jervois Steak House(opens in new window) (Auckland); Bistro Lago(opens in new window) (Taupō); and Shed 5(opens in new window) and Pravda(opens in new window) restaurants (Wellington).

Read Simon's story

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