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Manu Feildel

Recipe for success: Q&A with Manu Feildel

Manu Feildel has won hearts as the resident Frenchman on My Kitchen Rules for the past eight years. It was a recipe for success; the two beloved chefs, many years of experience under their culinary belts and the competitive streak that has given us an insatiable appetite for cooking shows. Then of course, there’s that suave French accent.


Manu Feildel


In the city as part of his involvement in creating the gourmet menu for the new Hoyts Lux, part of the EntX development, Manu sat down with our very own Nicholas Henare for an exclusive one on one meeting with the suave star himself dishing the dirt on everything from his start in France at the ripe age of 15, to dealing with celebrity-dom and his love for the woman by his side.


What motivated you to become a chef?

I was crap at school, I was the class clown. My mother said, ‘I don’t know what to do with you, your dad owns a restaurant, I think you should go and work with your dad’.
I just loved the restaurant, I could eat and cook and hang out with girls. I fell in love straight away with the restaurant.

How did you get to be where you are now?

I moved to London when I was 18 with £300 in my pocket and no English and stayed in London for eight years, hated the weather and moved to Australia when I was 26 and got recognised in the industry.

How do you deal with being a celebrity?

I said hello to about 28 people coming in here! It’s part of the job, most of the time it’s ok but sometimes you just want to be left alone, when I’m with my family.

What’s your go to food when you’re not cooking?

My wife is an amazing cook, Chinese, Malaysian, Sri Lankan. Yesterday I was in Melbourne and she called me and said, ‘please don’t eat anything on the plane, I’m cooking for you’.
I love her and love her cooking.

When you cook for your family, is there anything you cook that they they don’t like?

My young daughter is a little fussy but my older son was very picky between 10 and 12, in fact he was a little s**t and wouldn’t eat anything but now he eats EVERYTHING because he’s a rugby player.

Do you ever eat McDonalds or KFC?

3am in the morning and I’ve been out for a big night, I put a hat on and use a German accent… no, no, no, very rarely do I eat that type of food.
Hoyts Lux is amazing, how did that come about?Hoyts wanted to ring something different on the food aspect. The original menu was the same as everywhere else, so I thought I’d just jazz it up a bit. It’s been great to work with the team at Hoyts.

What’s your pick on the Hoyts Lux menu?

Try the duck bao, pulled pork pizza, the chicken burger is also very good. Duck is a luxury product, something very special and that’s what Hoyts Lux is, something special.

What’s your advice to someone who wants to start in the restaurant business?

Don’t do it! (insert loud French laugh here). No, but really, it’s a small percentage of people who are successful and it’s very, very hard work. Long hours and commitment is what’s needed to make it.

How much control did you have over the Lux menu?

About 70 percent – they pretty much gave me free reign to do what I wanted so you really do get what my ideas are when eating at Lux.

MKR? What’s happening?

Season 10 is being filmed at the moment. It’s going to be a cracking season with some great guests. There’s a bit of bitchiness, but here in New Zealand we’re a bit more tame. I play the good cop and don’t try to offend anyone’s cooking too much and try to explain how they can improve and what they could do to make it better, so they don’t cook any… ‘merde’.

How do you keep motivated?

I’ve got a great job that’s different every day. I never get bored. I got to jump on a plane and come and meet you and all the people in New Zealand.

Do you still cook in restaurants anymore?

No, I miss that immensely, but my life has changed.

Do you have favourite restaurant in New Zealand?

You would love it Nick, a modern Indian restaurant in Auckland called Cassia, I love it!

Manu is everything you see on television; suave, sophisticated and a bloody great conversationalist. Now I could do the hard sell on the food at Hoyts Lux but I don’t need to, Manu created it and seriously, it’s fantastic. Would you expect anything else?



Ferrari Portofino

An Italian beauty: Ferrari Portofino

The sound of a Ferrari Portofino V8 engine when you drop back into second gear on the motorway as the 591-horsepower engine prepares for what you are about to do is exhilarating.


Ferrari Portofino


The top is down on a beautiful Canterbury day. You’ve been at a winery up near Waipara enjoying the company of not just car enthusiasts, but Ferrari enthusiasts. You put your foot down on the accelerator and those ponies thrust you past the car in front with total accuracy and speed. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be part of Continental Ferrari’s visit to Christchurch in early October and got the opportunity to take a Ferrari GTC4Lusso and a Ferrari Portofino out to see what they could do. The Ferrari GTC4Lusso is 507 kW and ramps up from 0-100 in 3.4 seconds. A stunning 4-seater, tourer, it is an Italian beauty with jaw-dropping refinement. Everywhere you look it’s like a work of art. Everything can be refined to your specification.

I noted some of the other vehicles, about 12 in total, had been personalised. There were a couple of 458s that I had a hard time recognising and Neil from Ferrari explained that, “If you own one, you want it to be YOUR one, so we bespoke them for the client”.I spent some time with Doug Price who owns a 1995 Ferrari F355 GTS; the first Ferrari with power steering and gear linkages. Doug was fantastic, briefing me for a good half hour about his F355 and explain the ethos of the club. “We all love Ferrari Nick. Old or new, it doesn’t matter; the drive, the sound, we just love them.”

He pretty much personified all the club members; approachable, down to earth men and women who are totally passionate about the Ferrari brand. I was joined on the drive back by Robert Pegg from Ferrari in the Ferrari Portofino; a two-door convertible twin-charged V8 3,855 litre, seven-speed dual clutch, 0-100 in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 320kph. The only official dealer for Ferrari in New Zealand since 1973, Continental Cars officially opened a dedicated Ferrari Service Centre here in Christchurch last year. It also operates as a base to display the very latest Ferrari models and hosts local drive activities with its South Island Ferrari owners.

I got given the nickname ‘showpony’ once. But the only showpony that day was the prancing pony that is Ferrari. It is the ultimate in automotive style and performance. Getting back into my car was completely deflating. But I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity. Everyone should drive a Ferrari at least once in their life, shouldn’t they?



Bread & Circus

The circus comes to town: In the city with Nick

Having been involved in media for the last thirty years, I’m aware this time of the year is a brilliant time to get into Christchurch and soak up the juice that is events in the city.


Bread & Circus


The Buskers Festival has always been a top favourite of mine and the re-invention, Bread and Circus, promises more excitement than ever.

Bread & Circus will run from 10 January to 3 February 2019. The festival kicks off with an intensive 10-day programme full of exciting free events, exceptional ticketed shows, a large-scale spectacle and world-famous busking pitches. The ticketed programme and festival hub will then extend into February.

With more than 50 talented performers from around the world, including 22 of New Zealand’s finest, it’s hard to pick favourites.
Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel says she’s delighted that Strut & Fret are bringing their 20 years plus experience to breathe new life into Christchurch’s beloved World Buskers Festival, bringing Bread & Circus, a festival of world-class performances, to the heart of the city.

“The team at Strut & Fret have promised me that Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival will integrate the old and the new, with elements that everyone knows and loves, and a new range of phenomenal features to elevate the festival to a whole new level.”
This summer’s festival is bigger and bolder than ever before, with 527 performances and 90 hours of roving performers, an increase from 344 performances earlier this year. The number of buskers doing free street performances will double from 14 in 2018 to 29, with talent from New Zealand and around the world.


Nicholas Henare
Nicholas Henare








New Vibes

New Vibes

As I glanced down the table I got the feeling that I was at some sort of Godfather meeting. The Doms of all the families had gathered at Fiddlesticks for a very special lunch with Pierre Samuel Reyne from Pol Roger Champagne.


New Vibes


The 2009 Vintage was being accompanied by a long lunch and conversation about the hospitality industry flowed amongst those lucky enough to be invited by David Kininmonth from Hancocks Wines and Spirits.  Conversation turned to new developments, new operators. Each person at the table represented a good slice of hospitality within the four avenues and having been involved with a lot of them for years the thought struck me that town is an ever-evolving beast; that moving forward in post-quake Christchurch is going to be an exciting journey and we should make sure we are aware of what’s going on. So welcome to my endeavour to enlighten you on things that are happening within our beautiful garden city.

The weekend past saw me at the Welles Street, Octoberfest. How wonderful to see a well organised, thoroughly enjoyable event. The environment totally lent itself to a great evening. Divided into two events on the Saturday and one on the Sunday, it gave you the chance to get dressed up in “traditional” German beer drinking apparel, let your hair down and dance, sing, eat and of course, drink great quality beer.

It was the type of event we want to see much more of and Tom and Daniel from Welles Street look likely to provide much more of the same. If you haven’t checked out the venue, do. I went to the opening of Christchurch’s brand-new entertainment hub, EntX, and of course the wonderful new HOYTS seven screen flagship cinema complex and the first large scale cinema complex to return to the central city.
Partnering with a local developer and employing over 60 locals, HOYTS EntX is offering Cantabrians the ultimate movie going experience. Guests will be able to enjoy a range of offerings including HOYTS LUX, a premium in-cinema experience alongside the open candy-bar Treat City and Arties Bar and Café serving delicious hot and cold food.

The Cinema is rich and lush and obviously the next step in entertainment. Such a pleasure to see something like this opening in the inner city to bring life and vibrancy back. “We are extremely proud to be among the first companies to help rebuild entertainment experiences in the heart of Christchurch,” says HOYTS General Manager of Operations NZ, Paul Wood.  “For a city that has experienced so many trials and tribulations, we are certain our investment will bring excitement and fun to audiences in the area.”

“For a city that has experienced so many trials and tribulations, we are certain our investment will bring excitement and fun to audiences in the area.”

EntX is the first HOYTS site in the South Island to offer the premium HOYTS LUX offering. A unique and exclusive cinema offering, HOYTS LUX offers customers a sophisticated bar, in-cinema service at the touch of a button and an extensive wine list as well as a bespoke and exclusive menu designed by celebrity chef and judge on TVNZ 2’s My Kitchen Rules, Manu Feildel.  I will be catching up with Manu for an indepth look at not only how he constructed the menu but also to get a look at what’s happening in his world as a celebrity chef.
Keep an eye out for the interview in an upcoming Metropol.

Catching up with Andrew Trevelyan from Ōtākaro, the company in charge of the anchor projects for the “New” Christchurch, I was greatly enthused with the prospect of what’s coming in the next ten years. With five goals; a green city, compact central core, accessible, stronger built identity and a place to live, work, play, learn and visit, I was surprised by how much I didn’t know about where we are going. This knowledge is easily accessible, but it took an hour chat by Andrew to really get to know how exciting this will all be.

From greenspace engagement, to the CTV site, to the new stadium and library, there is so much to take in. Every Cantabrian should check out the website,, to get just the tip of the iceberg on what to expect. Exciting times! As I’m going to make this a regular column, I invite you to let me know of any exciting things happening in our wonderful new central city.


Nicholas Henare
Nicholas Henare Contact me on








Electrifying Performance: Infinity

Motoring writer Nicholas Henare dishes the automotive dirt on Infinity, a sub-brand of Nissan, and this year’s electrifying range of performance vehicles.






Following on from a range of electric vehicles rolling out at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Infiniti Prototype 10 recaptures the spirit of early speedsters for an era of electrified performance. The concept represents a physical manifestation of Infiniti’s creative and ambitious plans.  Yet again this year’s range of prototypes have a familiar early 1900s feel to the vehicle, with a flash back to those incredibly well styled vehicles of the 1920s and 30s.
As a brand with technological innovation at its core, electrification is a natural next step for Infiniti. From 2021, every new Infinity model will be electrified, featuring hybrid or battery electric technology to enhance performance. The Prototype 10 provides a window into this desire to deliver driving pleasure, thrilling performance and range confidence. With prototypes built to please the eye as well as the desire to see innovation in driving requirements, Infiniti has produced something to rival even the purest of luxury brands on show at Concours d’Elegance.
“We all feel a certain degree of passion when talking about roadsters and speedsters,” Infiniti President Roland Krueger says. “We are equally passionate about the potential that electrification holds for the future of our cars – a daring speedster is the perfect study for our designers to explore an electrified future and ignite such excitement.”






The new concept follows two other design studies revealed by the company in the last 12 months: the Prototype 9 – first revealed in 2017 – and the Infiniti Q Inspiration concept, unveiled at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Where Prototype 9 – a sleek, open-wheeled, electric retro-roadster – imagined an alternative history for Infiniti, the Prototype 10 is resolutely focused on what the future holds for the brand. Utterly daring in its bold execution, the new concept is inspired by the spirit of early speedsters, its form and function evoking driving pleasure and thrilling performance.

“The Infinity Prototype 10 echoes the layout and design of early speedsters,” Executive Design Director for the brand Karim Habib says.  “This period saw the creation of some of the most evocative car designs of all time, where power was celebrated through high-powered single-seat competition cars. Our new concept speaks of an electrified future, something which is reflected in its form and details. It is appropriate that we found inspiration in an optimistic bygone era in which cars were characterised by the simple love of driving.”

A future vision realised by Infinity designers, Prototype 10 is informed by some of the most iconic car designs of all time. Its cool, clean forward looking design is further complemented by its electrical performance.
It seems that this year’s prototypes have that all familiar feel and it really is, back to the future.





Mercedes A200 hatch

A Tiger Under the Hood: Mercedes A200 hatch

Picking up the Mercedes A200 hatch from Armstong Prestige, I was invited to be shown a few things about the connectivity in the vehicle but declined due to the fact I’m a bit “I’ve got this, how hard can it be” I must admit.


Mercedes A200 hatch


I was wrong and should have spent some time with their knowledge. It’s the next stage of driving with an intelligent interface. The statistics are all there, 1322cc, four-cylinder, 120kW, 250 Nm direct injection, turbocharged seven-speed automatic, with sports seats and 18-inch, five twin spoke alloys with duel exhaust. The front wheel drive starts at $60,900. It features hill start assist where if you take your foot off the brake while on a hill it gives you a few seconds to put your foot on the accelerator, so you don’t roll back. Simple ideas are sometimes the best.

The voice activation system gets a bit too eager. It turns on when you say, “My Mercedes” and while driving it logged on with “What can I help you with?” after we said, “My Monday’s looking busy”. Having spent the last few months driving more expensive, more powerful vehicles with more features, I was expecting the A200 to be a little ‘tame’ but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s got some good torque; being red must have made it quicker. But its speed is paired with great looks thanks to all that brushed aluminium, a great sunroof and those beautiful Mercedes slopping angles that make it look… sexy.




The dashboard interactivity is where the A200 is really dynamic though with a massive amount of options available from a 26cm touchscreen, kind of like a giant iPad. Navigating this is a little sensitive for my liking, with a centre console touch pad rather than the old dial system, but that could just be that I’m a bit old and not quite as cool as I should be. The only thing that did give me the odd question was the aggressive lane assist system that gave a rather jarring brake when I ‘deviated’ from my lane. Here in Christchurch we are all aware that sometimes you just can’t stay in a lane with the roadworks around and, when you get a braking system cutting in, that can get a bit annoying. Still, it is there to keep you safe, so I’ll let them away with it.

The interior is black leather with great stitching and cool LED lighting trim. All in all, my week with it showed that as we get further on with technology, luxury car brands like Mercedes will keep pushing more and more options for you to make your experience more responsive. At this price range, there is a lot going for the A200. I think it a great option up against the Audi A3; slightly feminine with a little tiger under the hood.



Dux De Lux

An iconic anniversary: Dux De Lux

Christchurch has some iconic places that resonate amongst us. Dux De Lux is possibly the definition of this and has been a core part of Christchurch life since 1978, starting on the ground floor in the Arts Centre, before expanding into a bar in 1987 Live music, coffee and fresh fruit juice, yes fruit juice, were unique selling points back then.


Dux De Lux




Oh how far we have come. and it’s amazing to think that we are celebrating the 40th anniversary this month. It’s hard to think of Christchurch hospitality over those years not having the Dux as a core part of its hospitality fabric. It’s where the likes of Salmonella Dub and Shapeshifter got their start. It’s where Bic Runga was found by Sony Music and The Feelers by Warner. Dux was a hotbed of New Zealand music right in our own backyard.

Recognising there was a need for beer that was a bit different, the team started selling European styles. In 1989 Richard Sinke had a craft brewery humming along just as America was having its craft beer renaissance and well before it took off here.
The year 1990 saw its move away from a purely vegetarian menu to incorporating seafood, which has become such a staple in Dux Dining now and something the restaurant is well recognised for doing well at. I remember the moment I sat down for a fantastic Mexican dish which became a prime motivator in my career as a chef.


“We’re extremely excited to see what the vibrancy and life will look like in Christchurch in 10 years.”

So many of us have a Dux story to share. How many of us enjoyed the courtyard next to the Arts Centre on a balmy afternoon to meet friends or family over pizza and a pitcher of Ginger Tom, protected from a ghastly southerly or easterly wind?
Richard Sinke is proud of what he’s achieved over the years, but as he says, “Dux’s future is tied to Christchurch. We’re extremely excited to see what the vibrancy and life will look like in Christchurch in 10 years.”

Yes, our future in Christchurch is exciting, but I think it’s great to look back on the milestone that is Dux de Lux on its 40th anniversary and congratulate the business on not only surviving in such a challenging industry, but becoming the iconic gamechanger that it has been over the years. It has shaped what we’ve come to expect from hospitality in Christchurch. Here’s looking at you Dux De Lux. Cheers for the memories.




Hulbert House

Sumptuous Southern Spot: Hulbert House

There are hotels and then there is Hulbert House; a luxury boutique hotel in central Queenstown restored from an 1888 Victorian villa that comprises of six beautiful double suites, each with their own individual flair.


Hulbert House


All the suites have a stunning view over Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding alps. You can relax and enjoy everything that is good about Hulbert House – and there is so much. Breathtaking in its ornate furnishing and classic styling, the Palm Lounge is lush and rich. Breakfast is served here by the wonderful hosts, Jade and Jay, who also doubles as chef de cuisine.  With leather couches to recline in and have a beverage or two, and a kitchen/servery which plays host to just a few sumptuous morsels in the cookie jar, it’s not really a hotel but a place that feels more like the home of someone incredibly rich who just happens to be letting you use it.

The homestead has a rich history, from the Boult Suite named after Philip Burbage Boult, who was granted the land in 1876, to the Firth Suite, the beautiful room I resided in, named after Horatio Nelson Firth, whose family lived here between 1889 and 1901.
With its proximity to town there’s no need to stress about travel time to one of the stunning restaurants; the prestigious Rata is only a leisurely five-minute walk.  Located at 68 Ballarat Street, just a hop skip and a jump from central Queenstown, it’s the perfect location to explore Queenstown but also to host an engagement, wedding or function.  Not only does Hulbert House have the perfect venue, but also a welcoming staff who introduce you to the quintessential Queenstown experience – one of style and elegance. Reserve your room at Hulbert House, you won’t regret the experience.



Part of a legacy

Part of a legacy: Refurbished Town Hall

The opportunity to get an exclusive preview of the extensive refurbishment of the Town Hall saw me standing on the old site of the Crowne Plaza one fine spring day.


Part of a legacy


Now a Gap-Filler-style area full of food caravans with happy, relaxed locals meandering through, memories came flooding back, reminding me of the prominence of this central city block – both historically and architecturally. The Christchurch Town Hall represents a core part of the heritage fabric of Christchurch and one which has served as a gathering place for performances, cultural events and meetings since 1972. Watching the work underway to bring back one of Christchurch’s last standing heritage buildings can only be described as a powerful experience.
The improvement of the ground has taken almost 11 months alone, with the insertion of new piling systems that are necessary not only to repair, but also to future-proof the building and protect it should we ever face another seismic event. A new raft slab has been well-planned to ensure that if anything happens, damage should be focused on the surrounding exterior and not on the interior system.


In October 2012 the recommendation came through to demolish everything but the main auditorium; a hard call for the people of Christchurch but Christchurch City councillors voted to restore the building. Work is progressing well as those behind this mammoth task work hard to meet the February 2019 deadline. The hard yards are done, and constant chatter of power drills, hammers and skill saws is a reminder that we are on a building site in full swing. With several new spaces for events areas and a multifunctional capability, the new Town Hall has more muscle for the future, while remaining respectful of the poignancy this vestige of Christchurch’s built heritage represents.


Part of a legacy


Sir Miles Warren and Maurice Mahoney from Warren and Mahoney Architects designed the Town Hall and completed the project on 30 September 1972. Since then it has been a hub of performing arts and an iconic part of Christchurch’s architecture. The Town Hall is one of the first buildings in New Zealand to be remediated using jet grouting; the 150mm thick floor slab has been replaced with a new concrete raft slab, helping to bring the building up to 100 percent of the New Building Standard. Above ground, instead of adding extrya concrete to reinforce the building, a new method of applying fibre-reinforced polymer to the original walls has been used. The new material is thinner but as strong as concrete.

Everyone who knows the Town Hall has a story; I personally have a multitude, including enjoying a tipple with Paul Young and Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet, to having champagne with Kiri Te Kanawa, and even my first stage show of Cats. This is, in my opinion, why the Christchurch City Council voted to restore it; the need to retain something of cultural importance to Christchurch which is at risk of becoming a contemporary city full of concrete tilt slabs and glass façades; something to remind us that we have a vibrant, relevant and important history.


Part of a legacy


According to Andrew Trevelyan from Ōtākaro, the Crown-led initiative giving direction to the rebuild in Christchurch, the Garden City rebuild is in full swing, as we head towards the completion of major projects and the Town Hall is integral to that narrative, as we put the puzzle pieces back together. With new marble floors, sweeping staircases and lush carpets, the Town Hall will once again take her place as a centre of entertainment to enable the people of Canterbury to once more enjoy her delights.

With its amazing overhaul featuring the new Avon Room and its stunning view of the new Victoria Square and Avon River, the Town Hall is coming back, better, stronger and more dynamic than ever before and we have not long to go before we can all take in her outer and inner wonders – it’s going to be a beautiful thing.



Josh Emett

Josh Emett’s Long Lunch: Q&A with Josh Emett

This year’s Veuve Clicquot Long Lunch at Rata in Queenstown celebrated 200 years of the champagne and featured the theme Colourama. One of New Zealand’s most beloved celebrity chefs – Josh Emett – unleashed his culinary creativity on the prestigious event. I managed to get a few questions to the maestro himself.


Josh Emett

I watch as you are instructing your team in the kitchen. How much does team play a part in serving up 100 people at the same time?

Teamwork in the kitchen is hugely important and is how the kitchen at Rata executes successful events like this one. At a glance you see a number of individual chefs managing different aspects of a dish, but at some point, they all need to come together to execute the finished dish, so timing and planning is everything. It is a great feeling when the team is performing at their full potential and a huge amount of fun.

How do you find new inspiration for the event?

This year for inspiration we drew heavily on the Colourama theme, which Veuve Clicquot focused on for much of the event. The great thing about this theme is it allowed us to play with colours and textures in the kitchen, and plate up four beautiful and natural dishes. I’m not into coloured dyes in food – I think you can achieve beautiful, multi-coloured dishes using natural ingredients and that what’s we did. Inspiration for events like this can come from anywhere. In Queenstown, it’s impossible not to have the menu at Rata draw from the beautiful landscape of the South Island and that comes out in every aspect of the dining experience, from the suppliers we use, to the produce we feature and the decor in the restaurant.


By the time it comes to presentation all the hard work’s been done. How hard are the days in the kitchen prior to Clicquot?

When running an event on such a scale that requires numerous intricate and detailed dishes being plated up all at once, it does put a huge amount of pressure on the kitchen to be organised and prepared. We have a new Head Chef at Rata, Jonathan Williams, who did an amazing job organising the prep in the lead up to the event, which allowed both lunches to flow smoothly and go off without a hitch.


How many years has it been now and how do you feel about your relationship with Clicquot in the Snow?

I think it’s a relationship that just keeps growing and proving more powerful. I feel lucky that my business partner, Fleur Caulton and I have been able to be a part of Clicquot in the Snow for many years now and it’s got to the point that the Rata Long Lunch is a staple in many people’s annual calendars. We have seen more and more demand for the event each season – which gives me confidence that we’re on the right track and offering people a unique and genuine dining experience that they really look forward too and enjoy.


I’m currently driving the new BMW X2 courtesy of BMW. They had good presence in this year’s event as a sponsor. What do you like about your affiliation?

I have been a BMW ambassador for six years now and it is an association that I am extremely proud of. We support each other’s brands on many different levels and in many different ways. I have owned several BMWs over the years and love the driving experience they offer. Their on-board technology is outstanding.