Zibibbo’s Adam Newell was the latest chef to grace the demonstration kitchen at Wellington's City Market. Having photographed A Consuming Passion, the first cookbook by Newell a few years ago, I was keen to see him in action again. Newell introduced three recipes which included two versions of en’papillote - French for “in parchment”, and a caponata.
While chatting and chopping his way through the caponata, Newell reflected on changes in New Zealand’s restaurant food. He believes the fusion of the 90’s “should be illegal”, (my wife calls the same phase ‘confusion’). He went on to say the scene is now about emphasising seasonal ingredients and not about playing around with the food too much. Newell reckons we’ve even caught up with Europe – a slightly optimistic view to me.
The first of two en’ papillotes involved salmon sourced from a passionate Akaroa fishery. Newell said he would be serving this at Christmas, leaving his mother-in-law to deal to the turkey. The recipe is here
The BBQ class was billed by the City Market as the Thrilla in Manila . While struggling to see the link with boxing I guess it could have been the vanilla which received rave reviews by Newell. It’s used in the sugar syrup poured into the en’ papillote dessert and Newell says the dish screams “eat me, eat me, its summer” as the perfumed steam envelops the diner once the parcel is opened on a plate.
The dessert can be made up to one hour ahead of time and Newell says his chefs at Zibibbo know they are in for a busy night if the en’ papillote is on the specials list (not being a cold pre-prepared dish).
The guests enjoyed being served by the Michelin starred chef (one of only two in New Zealand) as Newell delivered the fragrant packages to the tables. Scents of fennel, thyme and fish were followed by fruity fragrances and hints of mulled wine as the gathering pierced the sealed parcels and munched away happily. The $25000 Gaggenau kitchen stood up to the BBQ test well, easily competing with the hooded cookers that will be seen in most kiwi backyards this summer.