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Roots Restaurant

Taking root: Q&A with the couple behind Lyttleton’s Roots Restaurant

From an unassuming two-storey building on the main street of Lyttelton, a small restaurant is turning out some of the best food in the country.

Roots Restaurant
CHRISTY AND GIULIO STURLA: PHOTO by GUY FREDERICK

Headed by Giulio and Christy Sturla, Roots opened in London St in 2012 and has been making culinary waves in the port-side town.
Metropol talks to the couple behind this award-winning restaurant.

What is your culinary philosophy?
We look at nature as our main inspiration; the environment around us is our creative space. We are an ingredient based kitchen and we pride ourselves on using only the best that New Zealand produces. We have a sustainable approach to everything we do, from selecting the produce, to the way we cook and how we enjoy life with our family members.

Can you tell us about your cuisine journey?
The journey never ends, I started cooking at a young age at home while growing up in Ecuador, fresh natural foods were abundant and I really like to eat a lot. I started cooking professionally right after school. I have been cooking in many countries and different kinds of establishments, after a whole year interning at Mugaritz when I was 28 my style of cooking was defined. We opened Roots in November of 2012 and every single day is a journey that we enjoy.

How important is Lyttelton to you?
Lyttelton is the place that we could make our dreams come true. Lyttelton is the place where my daughters were born. Lyttelton is the community that opened their arms and gave us the support we needed to start our crazy dream. Lyttelton is home for us.

What attracted you to the cuisine industry?
At the beginning was the food, I love to eat. Now I look at cooking as an opportunity to express myself, to tell a story from my kitchen or the people we work with. I know that cooking good food has the power to make the world a better place for the future.

What are some of your favourite dishes or culinary creations?
All of our creations are my favourite; they tell a story of time and place. We want to create a memory of taste for our guests that hopefully stays with them forever.

You’ve earned some pretty impressive accolades now, why do you think it’s been such a success?
We believe in what we do, we are passionate, we don’t give up.

What are some of your favourite haunts or things to do in Canterbury?
We love the Banks Peninsula in general, every corner of it is an attraction for us, we can forage, we can surf, we can enjoy the stars. Also the North Canterbury wine region is something that always surprises us and the potential to become an incredible wine region is inspiring.

What does the next 12 months have in store for Roots?
A whole new Roots is in the making… also a small farm behind the restaurant is hopefully coming to fruition by the end of winter, probably harvesting by summer 2019.

Winter activities

Winter wonders: nine things guaranteed to get you out and loving Christchurch this winter

The temperatures have begun their downward descent and winter is on the seasonal horizon. But that’s no reason to hunker down at home.

Winter activities

Without the evolutionary need to hibernate like our animal ancestry, there’s still plenty to do and see to make the most of the chilly season. Here are our top picks!

Rise and shine

The sun rises a bit later in winter, giving you plenty of time to get up in the morning and make your way down to the beach. Just before the sun rises, the temperature drops and the sand freezes over, creating beautiful patterns. Definitely an Insta-worthy sight!

Café culture

The natural next step to ‘rise and shine’ is, of course, coffee! There’s a strong café culture in the city, so we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a favourite, but Black & White Coffee Cartel, Room 205, Villa 23 and 43 Degrees Café are just some of ours.

Star light star bright

When it comes to silver linings, the fact that winter is one of the best times of the year to observe the stars is just that, with frosty mornings creating stunning clear nights. The view from the Godley Head Reserve or the Sugarloaf is a beautiful spot to enjoy the night sky.

Let there be light

Lyttelton Harbour Festival of Lights is a mid-winter light extravaganza, which transforms the harbour into a magical space with lights, art, music and festivities on 29 June. The famous Street Party on London Street has a spectacular parade, buskers, performers, music, an outdoor street market with winter warmers, quality art and craft and an epic fireworks display.

Show-stopping spots

Christchurch is somewhat of an attention seeker when it comes to the social scene, in the very best of ways, of course. We are lucky to have theatrical options right here in the city. Top spots like the Isaac Theatre Royal and The Court Theatre will keep you warm this winter. Or try one of the many boutique cinemas in the city to enjoy the latest films.

‘Next-level’ fun

The highest point on Banks Peninsula, Mt Herbert often has a sprinkling of snow on top, while the view over Lyttelton Harbour and the Port Hills, with the Southern Alps standing proudly behind, is next-level fun, in the figurative and literal sense of the expression.

The ’coolest’ attraction

When it comes to getting your winter fix, there’s nothing cooler than the International Antarctic Centre. There’s nowhere else you get to survive an Antarctic Storm, bounce along on a Hagglund and hang out with Little Blue Penguins.

On thin ice

One of the coolest of winter sports, ice skating can be a whole lot of fun. Alpine Ice has been operating in Christchurch since 1985 and offers casual skating sessions, as well as holiday programmes.

Blooming beautiful

A neo-classical conservatory in the heart of the Botanic Gardens, Cunningham House is always full of colour – even in the winter.

RLS Redesigned Boutique

Romance revisited: the wonderfully whimsical story of Rebecca and the RLS Redesigned Boutique

Once upon a time, Rebecca Swindell was in her local St Vincent de Paul shop when she spied a shelf of vintage lace and fabric remnants. “The needlework, the hours of love that had gone into creating these beautiful pieces… imagine if they ended up in landfill!”

RLS Redesigned Boutique
Photo Simon Greenwood

Rebecca returned home with her tablecloths, pillowcases and doilies then looked at the rack of op shop garments hanging in her studio. It was 2013, her stall of home décor was selling well at the recently opened Pallet Pavilion, and the op shop clothes were popular, too, but Rebecca’s artistic eye was already envisioning something else. She slipped an op shop dress over her mannequin and got out her pins and tacking thread. RLS Redesigned Boutique was open for business.
Rebecca says she was born creative. “When I was little, I’d sit beside mum while she was working on her sewing machine and stitch away on scraps she gave me; from the age of ten I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer.”
Apart from markets or country fairs, Rebecca’s romantic, wearable works of art can be found at the Lyttle Kiwi, 15 London Street, Lyttelton. She also opens her studio by appointment. “Bring your mum; bring your girlfriends. I love the interaction and the social side of my work. Knowing I’ve dressed someone – to see their elation – that’s the best feeling of success!”
For more information phone 027 3040 484 or find RLS Redesigned Boutique on Facebook.

Soul Style Organic Hair Salons

A soul-ful salon: Soulstyle Organic Hair Salons are the easy going environmentally friendly salons you need to check out

The vibe is chill, the feeling is restorative and the products are eco friendly at the two Soulstyle Organic Hair Salons owned and operated by Deanna and Greg Campbell.

Soul Style Organic Hair Salons

Blending authenticity with style to bring you the uplifting but calming experience that every hair appointment should be. Locally roasted Switch Organic espresso is brewed for you by expert barista Greg, including Rangiora’s Claridges Herbal tea range that anyone passing by can come in and enjoy.
The South New Brighton salon came first, and Lyttelton is the latest lucky community to get a soul boost. Deanna and Greg love the feeling of being a part of the city coming back to life, growing and regenerating. They’re on a mission to help retain our heritage: both salons are located in older buildings stuffed with character, with the Lyttelton salon housed in an original 1880’s building. Greg and Deanna love the community feel of the port and are excited to be one of the many new businesses in Lyttelton.
All the products are organic/natural, ammonia free, mineral and plant based, and locally sourced where possible. With 100 percent grey coverage and stunning fashion colours, you are in safe hands with these talented stylists. Soulstyle’s Mother’s Day special is a free cut and organic treatment with every colour in the week after Mother’s Day (conditions apply) and, of course, vouchers are available.
Feed your soul, nurture your style at Soulstyle!

Bree Scott: Glamour Cakes

Sweet Taste of Success: We talk to Cake Goddess Bree Scott of Glamour Cake

Bree Scott: Glamour Cakes
Bree Scott of Glamour Cakes. Photographer: John Houston from Rexbox Photography
Bree Scott: Glamour Cakes
Bree Scott of Glamour Cakes. Photographer: John Houston from Rexbox Photography
Bree Scott: Glamour Cakes
Bree Scott of Glamour Cakes. Photographer: John Houston from Rexbox Photography
Bree Scott: Glamour Cakes
Bree Scott of Glamour Cakes. Photographer: John Houston from Rexbox Photography

Bree Scott’s successful foray into baking has been a glamourous one since her sweet treats went viral last year. We talk to the proud owner of Glamour Cake about the sweet taste of success.

How did all this start?
My baking career started when I finished high school. At the time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and dad offered me a position as his apprentice so I decided to go down the line of baking!

What has been your most successful creation?
The donut! When I started Glamour Cake I designed wedding cakes and birthday cakes and loved it, but as I carried on I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. So I started creating cheesecakes which started to take off and I decided to give donuts a go. This was the winner.
It started off with the Mars Bar cheesecake donut and it went viral. Then the following started to grow; 12 daily donuts of a particular flavour turned into 80. Then I started getting really creative with flavours and designs and one daily flavour turned into eight and 80 turned into hundreds!
My favourite donut is the ‘Leamington’. With the combination of cream and jam laced with chocolate and raspberry glaze smoothed in coconut. Yum.

You became an overnight sensation, but your success hasn’t come out of nowhere. Tell us about your family’s baking background?
It’s actually taken me four years to get Glamour Cake to where it is today; a lot of hard work, tears, patience and sacrifice. If it wasn’t for my dad I wouldn’t be where I am today!
My dad has been baking for over 40 years, roping mum in when we were at school to help out. School holidays I’d be up at gosh knows what time, dressed, ready and waiting in the kitchen for dad, hoping he’d let me go in and help bake. As we all hit high school getting up early became normal as it became our job as hired help. So when it came to leaving school and thinking about what I wanted to be, baking was the last thing on my mind as it was almost second nature.
Mum and dad have an amazing success story, going from a struggling family doing everything they could to keep two business going – the Clyde Bakery and Hillyer’s Café, only to sell it all and risk it on what dad could see as the next big thing – buying the Woolston Hot Bread Shop. People would queue down the street to get them as they were the only shop open over weekends, as there was no weekend trading.
They both worked so hard; dad running the business while mum is running around making sure dad would still see us kids, bringing us into the shop just so dad could drop us off at sports on a Saturday and watch our games. Mum would take over from dad and work so we could still have family moments. It’s amazing what dedication, hard work and support from others can help you achieve.

Where do you draw your sweet inspiration from?
To be honest I’m not 100 percent sure how I come up with some of my donut designs. I just have a particular way I like things to look and if I don’t like it I start again until I’m happy with the final outcome. Sometimes I have dreams of ideas and wake up in the morning and go into work and try and create it. It’s not a winner every time, let’s just say that much.