His teachers there included Anthony Demetre and Tom Aikens at Wild Honey, Arbutus and Tom Aikens’ Restaurant. Many of the world’s best chefs have lived and stopped (at least for short periods) in the British metropolis. The pressure of competition is correspondingly high – but so is the opportunity to learn really new things, to broaden one’s own horizons and to exchange ideas in dialog with colleagues from all over the world. In New Zealand, it’s the selection of great and fresh produce that is the main draw. The seafood, for example, is absolutely world class, and there is a huge selection of excellent organic vegetables. Only the so famous lamb is produced mainly for export – in Auckland it is much more expensive than in London.
Phil runs Phil’s Kitchen, a small restaurant with a compact menu. Four appetizers, four main courses and three desserts. The menu changes weekly. This is not worth it from a financial standpoint, it keeps the kitchen team creative and always on the move.
With regard to his clear, fresh and colorful plates, he naturally draws inspiration from the work of his previous stations and chefs – at the same time, he takes his cue from global trends and tries to develop a differentiation, his own signature.
His recommendation is accordingly: Learn the classics. Learn from the best classic chefs, understand their tricks and their craft. Only then turn to the modern, the fancy stuff. Of course, it’s great to be able to make beautiful foams and snows. But if the basics aren’t right, if you can’t handle the proteins perfectly, then it won’t lead anywhere.
He takes his pictures with an iPhone 6. Fortunately, he reveals, use black tablecloths in the restaurant – it gives a perfect background.
For Phil, Instagram is of course also a marketing channel for his restaurant. But it also helps him a lot to keep his finger on the pulse, to follow what his former colleagues are up to in London and what else is happening in the culinary world….