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In my kitchen with… Cameron Woodhouse, head chef, Greystone Wines

In my kitchen with…Greystone Wines Cameron Woodhouse. Photo / Supplied

Cameron Woodhouse heads the restaurant at Greystone Wines in the gorgeous Waipara region of North Canterbury, where the food philosophy is all about serving local produce. “Our menu changes weekly and is reliant on what is in season – we then pair every dish with exceptional wine,” says the chef. When he’s not busy at Greystone, Cameron still spends a lot of time in his own kitchen at home. Here he shares what we’d find in his fridge and pantry, where he likes to eat out and why a Vitamix is ​​an essential bit of kitchen kit.

Greystone Wines, 376 Omihi Rd, Waipara. Website: greystonewines.co.nz

My kitchen at home is… mostly filled with kitchen gadgets. I love to cook at home, so I like to have the option to use things like a sous vide machine or a mincer. We inherited the kitchen when we bought our house so it’s not ideal, but we make do. One day we might get around to making it my dream kitchen! There is, however, lots of storage space for the preserves that my partner and I make from our garden.

To turn it into a dream kitchen… I have big dreams for a complete re-do! If I could, I would put in a wider oven and better gas burner. I can picture having a breakfast bar where friends and family can sit around and chat, while my partner and I cook. Sometimes when we have friends over I seem to spend too much time in the kitchen, so being able to host and cook at the same time would take away some of my guilt. A big sink is always valuable in any kitchen and I would love a walk-in fridge but that might be pushing it.

Things you’d always find my fridge are… My fridge is mostly filled with half-used jars of pickles and relishes and lots of things like anchovies, mustards, gherkins and chilli paste. There is nearly always some good parmesan in the fridge too – that goes on everything.

Some of my pantry staples are… I always have lots of flour. I’m a former pastry chef so will never shake that. I make bread most weeks on my days off as well as looking after the sourdough starter I use at work. Maldon sea salt is one of my favorite luxuries to have tucked away. I always have that, somewhere near the spice box, which is usually pretty out of control. Lastly, I always have on hand a big tray of eggs.

My favorite ingredient to cook with is… I find cultured buttermilk a really versatile ingredient – ​​be it in pancakes, which I’ll cook on my day off, or a little in some mashed potatoes. I use it at work to make ricotta. It gives a great texture and acidity to ricotta without tasting like vinegar or lemon. Otherwise I love to cook fish – whether it’s raw or cooked I find different species super-versatile. I do prefer the secondary fish such as moki or ling.

Click here for Cameron’s recipe for curly endive with dill mayo, pickled onion and aged gouda

Greystone Wines - curly endive with dill mayo, pickled onion and aged gouda For Be Well
Greystone Wines – curly endive with dill mayo, pickled onion and aged gouda For Be Well

The kind of dishes I most love to make are…

I really enjoy making vegetable-based dishes. There is something so satisfying in jazzing up a vegetable and surprising my guests. I love serving something like brussels sprouts to someone who has never enjoyed them, with the hope of changing their mind (but they are usually cooked in something like chicken fat). It’s about using simple ingredients really well to make a memorable dish.

My go-to meal in a hurry is… any egg-based dish. I will never pull boiled eggs and soldiers!

And if friends stop by unexpectedly… I will usually light the barbecue. I think it’s such a social way to have tasty food.

My drink of choice is… At the moment it is the 2021 Greystone Petillant Naturel Rosé because it’s crisp and refreshing. I love an interesting beer too.

Something unexpected I make from scratch is… I make some vinegar at home from odds and ends of wine. It takes a bit of time but good wine makes good vinegar!

I cook at home… I like to cook as much as possible at home. Whether I can, though, depends on what time I finish work at Greystone or if my partner beats me to it! There’s a belief that chefs must hate cooking at home given it’s their day job but it’s just not true. I usually cook three to four times a week.

My favorite place to eat right now is… I always love Kinji, a Japanese restaurant in Christchurch. It’s nice to try things I have never eaten before. You should definitely try the smoked and pickled daikon – my fave.

The kitchen gadget everyone should own is… a good blender makes things easier. I have a Vitamix and swear by using them (just waiting on the sponsorship deal!). Also a sous vide machine at home can be fun to cook with and makes slow cooking very simple and accurate.

My personal food philosophy is… I like to take less premium things and make them shine. I love foraging near my house and creating new dishes from seasonal produce. I’m not about cooking fillet steak or tuna but rather showing how basic things can be done really well and in an accessible way.

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