"Life is too short for bad food or wine."
Westgold has started working with Chef Al Brown to ensure we have a good understanding of what our foodservice customer's experiences will be with our product range.
“Life is too short for bad food or wine”. Al’s passion for knowledge and excellence in all things culinary has always been his life force. He has worked in kitchens since the age of 14 working his way up the ranks starting as a plonger (dish washer) in Auckland in the early 1970’s, from Commis to Chef de Partie at the Ritz Hotel in London, to Michelin Star Head Chef at an exclusive UK restaurant by the age of 28 in 1984, ending his international experience as an Executive Chef at the top end of the corporate market.
Returning to New Zealand 17 years later he began teaching at AIT (now AUT University) where he had gained his own first qualification. As a senior chef lecturer in 2013 he celebrated 20 years of teaching and became the recipient of an AUT Vice Chancellor’s Academic Award for Excellence in Teaching. In the same year he was also awarded the prestigious London City and Guilds International Medal for Excellence, in recognition of outstanding performance as a lecturer in the culinary arts, something never before achieved by a New Zealander.
Al is a national culinary judge and critic for NZ Lamb and Beef, Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge, New Zealand venison (Cervena), at World Skills, Restaurant of the Year, Best Sausage, Young Butchers competitions, and for the NZ Food Writers Guild. He is involved in several culinary research projects and is well respected within the industry as a mentor and mine of culinary knowledge and experience to both emerging and experienced chefs.
His lifelong passion for all things culinary means leisure activities centre around up-skilling and ‘tinkering’ with techniques, knowledge and gourmet experiences including wine, cheese and sausage making, hot and cold smoking, his wood fired oven, sourdough breads, distilling, food photography and culinary travel experiences within New Zealand and abroad.
Closer to home he is well known for his motorcycle ‘breaks away’ armed with knife, whisk, peppermill and occasionally a 1-group coffee machine as he explores NZ’s ‘gourmet’ landscape cooking where he stops, with whatever is at hand, in exchange for a bed. A more formal ‘break away’ includes the annual motorcycle journey to Hanmer Springs, in New Zealand's South Island, to cook at the South Island Pinot Noir Growers Conference.
Al’s has released his first book The Complete Kiwi Pizza Oven and rumour has it, there may be a second.
Bio: The Real Al Brown
• ATI Alumni and further study in London (City and Guilds) to real ‘Master Chef’ level
• Total 17 years International experience:
o 2 years at the Ritz working up to level of Chef Poissoniere
o Michelin star 1984 at Milton Sandford Restaurant which later became L’Ortolan Restaurant, the training kitchen for Lenny Henry’s ‘Chef’
o Executive chef AIB Bank, Great Britain, Corporate Dining
• Lectured for 25 years at AUT as Senior Chef Lecturer in professional culinary and patisserie
• 2013 first New Zealand recipient of International award for outstanding contribution to teaching from London City and Guilds
• 2013 recipient of AUT Vice-Chancellor’s Academic Excellence Award in Teaching
• ‘Famous’ students: Michael Meredith, Ben Bailey (The Grove and Baduzzi), Hayden McMillan (Waiheke Yacht Club)
• National culinary judge/critic: Lamb and Beef, Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge, New Zealand venison (Cervena), World Skills, Restaurant of the Year, Best Sausage, Young Butchers, Food Writers Guild Awards
• Food research and recipe development for various organistions/institutions
• Lifelong passion for all things culinary with leisure activities centred around up-skilling and ‘tinkering’ with techniques, knowledge and gourmet experiences: wine making, cheese making, sausage making, hot and cold smoking, wood fired oven, sourdough breads, distilling...