The most fabulous thing about dining at The Monday Room is that diners can revel in expecting the unexpected. With its raison d’être firmly focused on a shared degustation of food and wine, and featuring Trust the Chef and Trust the Somm options, patrons are assured of a gastronomic feast guaranteed to inspire conversation that would rival even the Mad Hatter at his most eloquent best.
So, without further ado, let us meet the Trust the Chef(s) conjuring their culinary magic in this wonderland restaurant. Head Chef Eeva Torvinen and Sous Chef Annika Kiviniemi both hail from Finland, and it’s thanks to this dynamic duo, with their youth and passion for creating dishes that shake us out of our dining complacency, that we’re finally getting to experience food that excites and astounds.
Torvinen says it was due to foraging in the forest for berries and mushrooms, and fishing with her father and grandfather that set her on her cooking career. A word Torvinen frequently uses is ‘technique’, such as in the techniques of curing, brining, pickling, smoking and sous vide (low temperature cooking, container cooking and pressurised enclosure cooking). “We seldom use spices other than salt because we believe the techniques we use add more flavour into ingredients.”
Torvinen’s desire is to make The Monday Room the best eating establishment that she can; beyond that her want is simple: “I want to cook, create, learn more and explore, and maybe one day have a restaurant of my own.” Now we turn to greet our Trust the Somm.
Malaysian-born Kiwi, Stephen Wong, was reading law at the University of Otago and, while working part time in cafés and as a DJ, was introduced to New Zealand wines. A move to Central Otago in 2000 found Stephen working in vineyards and rapidly progressing into hospitality.
He began his first sommelier role after qualifying as a barrister and learnt on the job. Seven years on and Stephen had moved into consulting; Wine Sentience is his wine education and support business – it has been instrumental in keeping Wellington wine lists at the top of their game.
Stephen was recently made a Master of Wine, taking the number of MW’s in New Zealand to 12. When not educating or judging wine shows throughout Australasia, Stephen tutors Master of Wine students in the IMW Australasian Educational Seminar. Stephen says his greatest passion will always be around wine communication and training our future sommeliers to be the best they can possibly be.
These, then, are the trusted trio rocking The Monday Room; Alice begs you to bring along your Mad Hatter mates, and join her for a night of unrivalled revelry.
Location: 161 High Street