Peter Gordon

Episode: Seven

Credited as the ‘godfather’ of fusion cuisine, Peter pushes the boundaries of where one national cuisine starts and another stops. He has been championing international flavours with food that hold flavour and texture, rather than tradition and provenance as its central tenets.

Born in Whanganui in New Zealand, Peter moved to Melbourne in 1981 where he completed a four-year cookery apprenticeship. Peter cooked in Melbourne restaurants for five years, where he says ‘suddenly there were Vietnamese, Burmese, Ethiopian and Italian foods’, before travelling for a year throughout Asia. This travel has been cited as the greatest influence on his culinary style. Returning to New Zealand in 1986, he set up and ran the kitchens of the original The Sugar Club restaurant. In 1989 Peter moved to London, where he introduced his eclectic stye of fusion cuisine. In 1995 he set up The Sugar Club in London which was to win multiple accolades.

After working on various solo projects, Peter opened The Providores and Tapa Room in 2001 where our section with him was filmed. In 2009 Peter received the New Zealand Order of Merit – the NZ equivalent of an OBE – for his skills as a chef and restaurateur.

Peter Gordon’s Wine Choice

Ata Rangi embodies the pioneering spirit of Kiwi Pinot Noir. It is succulent and rich with squished red fruit melding seamlessly with a cedarwood oak spice. Partly this comes from being one of the first estates to plant Pinot Noir in the 1980s, but there’s a buccaneering spirit too. Search Ata Rangi gumboot clone on the internet for one of the great stories of wine.

Peter’s Recipe: Roast lamb, shiitake risotto, celeriac kale puree, aubergine and lime salad

Serves: Four

I used in-season NZ lamb to go with the delicious NZ Ata Rangi Pinot Noir.

  • 500g peeled celeriac, cut into medium chunks
  • 300g kale, stems discarded, coarsely shredded
  • Sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • 1 aubergine, stem discarded, cut into 1cm dice
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 2 limes – zest of 1, juice of both
  • A generous handful coriander leaves, coarsely shredded
  • 15 mint leaves, coarsely shredded
  • 4 x 150 – 200g lamb chumps / rumps, trimmed of all sinew and the fatty cap scored cross-hatch (this helps give a crisper crust and renders some fat while cooking)
  • 30g butter
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 100g leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms, caps sliced, and stalks also if tender enough
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 1 ½ tbsp tamari (wheat free soy sauce – although use regular soy sauce if this is what you have)
  • Simmering vegetable, chicken or lamb stock – around 600ml
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 1. Preheat the oven 180*C.
  • 2. Place the celeriac in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 1cm and bring to the boil. Add ½ teaspoon fine salt and cook until you can almost insert a knife through the celeriac Add the kale and cook another 3 minutes. Drain into a colander and then puree in a small food processor. Season with salt and freshly milled black pepper. Keep to the side of the stove as this is best eaten warm.
  • 3. Add enough sunflower oil to a medium sized pan to give you 8cm depth. Heat to 180*C. Cook the aubergine in several batches until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper until all is cooked.
  • 4. Meanwhile, mix the sliced onion with the lime zest and juice and leave for 10 minutes. The lime juice makes the onion become more red and less raw tasting. Once the aubergine is ready, add it to the onions and mix in. Once cooled, mix in the coriander and mint. Season. Leave at room temperature.
  • 5. Heat a pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the lamb, fat side down, and cook until the fat renders golden brown. Drain excess fat from the pan and season the lamb on both sides. Roast in the oven 12 – 16 minutes, depending on the thickness of the lamb, until it is pink inside. Take from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  • 6. Make the risotto. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan until it begins to turn golden brown. Add the shallot, leek, garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring often, until caramelised. Add the shiitake, rice, tamari and enough stock to cover the rice by 1cm then reduce the temperature to low. Once the rice has absorbed the stock, add another ladleful and keep cooking until the rice is al dente. Stir in the parmesan then season.
  • 7. To serve, spoon the risotto onto your plate. Place a scoop of celeriac puree next to it. Slice the lamb (against the grain) and lay this on. Spoon on the aubergine salad.

Peter Gordon’s Savour: Salads for all Seasons book

In this beautiful book, internationally acclaimed chef and ‘godfather’ of fusion cooking, Peter Gordon, encourages you to throw away any preconceived ideas about what makes a salad and to instead create inventive, mouth-watering dishes that you’ll want to make time and again.

Peter’s book Savour is published by Jacqui Small LLP in April 2016.