While October is largely known for the widely celebrated Halloween, in New Zealand, it also marks another important, and tasty time.
National Cheese Month, and consequentially, the New Zealand Cheese Festival take place in October and this year will be hosted in Marlborough at the Clos Henri Vineyard on Saturday, October 7th.
World-renowned celebrity chef Mark Southon will be making an appearance as a special guest and is even curating a unique, cheese-inspired lunch specially for the event.
Southon told REX host Dominic George about the journey of a friend who, despite running a successful two-Michelin-starred restaurant in the UK, chose to operate only four days a week. This approach allowed him to strike a work-life balance, something Southon believes is vital in the hospitality industry.
"You can't have a sustainable life if you're doing those hours sustainably, day in, day out, week in, week out, year in, year out. It's not fair. A four-day week in hospitality would be amazing," he said.
As a lover of local produce, Southon is excited to design a five-course cheese-centric lunch for the event. The menu promises an exciting blend of traditional dishes and playful innovations, all incorporating locally sourced ingredients.
"We've got five courses all with cheese in there. A lot of playful dishes as well. We've got a cheese and ham toasty on brioche, with aged gruyere, truffle, and parma ham.
"So, if you love cheese, you need to come to this dinner. You get it all matched with Misty Cove wines and a beautiful setting," he teased.
However, Southon's culinary expertise isn't limited to the borders of New Zealand. He recently showcased New Zealand ingredients at a Dego dinner at the Regent Hotel in Taipei.
Southon's effort to promote Kiwi produce abroad reflects his passion for his adopted home's gastronomic treasures.
"Just to see them appreciate the New Zealand ingredients and have something different is it just blows them away," he said about the Taipei event.
Listen to the full chat between Mark Southon and Dominic George above.