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Best known as the colourful star of New Zealand’s popular TV
series, ‘The Food Truck’, and more recently ‘Kiwi Living’, Michael
Van de Elzen is now cooking up a new storm in the kitchen.
Passionate about preparing wholesome and healthy food
options, especially as the father of two little girls, Michael’s
new beef is ensuring that everything is cooked ‘from scratch’.
He’s teamed up with big names like Watties, Grove Avocado,
Sanitarium and Green Meadow’s Beef to launch his own food plan
– ‘Good From Scratch’.
It’ll be a major focus when he stars as one of the main foodie
celebrities in the Cooking Theatre at the The Food Show Auckland
from July 27 to 30, at the ASB Showgrounds. Michael, Kiwi free
range cooking queen Annabel Langbein, celebrity chef Simon
Gault, Annabelle White, Ray McVinnie and many more will be hard
at it providing live cooking theatre throughout the show.
“A lot of people came up to me at the last food show and
asked me, ‘What’s good to feed my kids?’ says Michael. “It was
happening quite often so I started working in collaboration with
these companies,” says Michael. He’s super excited about his new
beef and beetroot patties. “The flavour is astonishing. There’s
quite a bit of spice in them, but no crap. They’re 40 percent
vegetables and you can give them to kids knowing they’ll be
getting great nutrition.” His ‘Good From Scratch’ range of dips is
also already in supermarkets with more dips and soups coming.
The former owner of four Auckland restaurants, Michael says
he’s loving the new path that’s he’s following. “I just love food.
I can go home and have my food and actually experience my food.”
He and wife Belinda, who is also a chef, have bought a lifestyle
farm in Muriwai, north of Auckland. “For the past two years we’ve
been building that up with stock, vegetable and herb gardens and
orchards, and we’re about to start building a cookery school on
the farm, says Michael. “People will be able to come for a day
and have a little bit of fun, getting back to where our food actually
comes from, or tourists may want to come just to experience New
Zealand food, culture and cuisine. It’s still a year away.”
As the father of Hazel, 6, and Ivy, 4, Michael’s deeply concerned
about what Kiwi children are being fed. Hugely passionate about
reducing child obesity, he is determined to show families that good
food made from scratch can be easy, healthy and, most importantly,
delicious. He believes Good From Scratch ticks all these boxes.
He’s also hoping to work with New Zealand schools in an effort
to get healthy, nutritional food into the curriculum by teaching
kids how to cook. “So many teachers tell me they buy my Food
Truck DVD and play it in their classes. I would love to carry that
on and take my popularity, harnessing that and creating a culture
in schools that gets kids passionate and energised about eating
good food again,” says Michael.
Unlike most Kiwi households, making the kids’ lunches
is a position of high esteem and honour in the Van de Elzen
household. “My wife, Bee, and I fight over who gets to make the
kids’ lunches. At the moment it’s my turn.” Hazel and Ivy’s lunch
is definitely a little more gourmet than their classmates, but
Michael and Belinda can rest easy that their children are being
Black bean and beetroot dip with a packet of chopped
vegetables, filled wraps, rice crackers and ‘brain food’, like raw or
roasted nuts, and raisins, also go down a treat.
“We always ensure there’s fruit in there, and if they have a muesli
bar, we will have made it.” The girls also take soup once a week in
a small thermos. “Kids love cauliflower soup,” says Michael. Even
last night’s leftover lasagne will make the cut for lunch.
The key is variety. “I was brought up on curried egg sandwiches.
I loved them and I still do, but not five days a week.”
“Sometimes we forget how to cook as it’s so easy to go out and
buy it. We’re all rushing around and we tend to fill our lives up,
even if we have downtime,” he says.
“When you get home the last thing you want to do is make food
from scratch, but I’m saying it’s still easy.”
One of Michael’s favourites is fish with his spice rub, made from
roasted coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds. “Mash
them with a mortar and pestle and sprinkle over the fish to create
an awesome spiced fish.” Serve that with grated carrot, apple
and beetroot, smashing some almonds or other nuts, preferably
roasted, on top with lemon juice and oil and runny honey drizzled
over it. Chop in mint, then serve with the fish and yoghurt.
He’ll be working two stands at the food show – Green Meadows
Beef and Grove Avocado – demonstrating his barbecue rub over
a skirt steak, which Michael insists can be beautiful and tender,
despite not being a prime cut. “It’s all about sustainability. We use
the primal cuts – sirloin, scotch and eye fillet – and the rest ends
up in mince and sausages. It’s such a waste, he says.
Skirt steak can present ‘the chew factor challenge’, but if you
use a good supplier it definitely has more flavour, says Michael.
As ambassador for Grove Avocado, Michael demonstrates his
love for good green avocado oil with the same enthusiasm that
made him a hit on the tele.
“It’s got that magical thing called colour. It’s so bright and
vibrant. You look at it and just know it’s going to be delicious,” he
says. “It just grabs me added to a green salsa or on top of a salad
presented on a white plate. Just magical stuff.”
Van de Elzen
– more healthy
BY SUE FEA
Michael Van de Elzen on the job
Hospitality BUSINESS | July 2017 | 11
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