Both of these extremely talented chefs are known perfectionists, while also sharing a deep passion and respect for Asian cuisine. Working in close collaboration Paul and Nic will create their own unique menu comprising three signature dishes each. These will be served as alternating courses during this truly spectacular Four Hands Collaboration Dinner.
British-born chef Paul Froggatt initially trained in the UK and in France where his career highlights included working at Gidleigh Park Hotel (Two Michelin-Star), Bernard Loiseau en Bourgogne (Three Michelin-Star) and Château de Courcelles (One Michelin-Star). Paul followed this by stints at two of Singapore’s popular leading European restaurants San Marco and Saint Pierre.
In 2016, Huka Lodge, with Executive Chef, Paul Froggatt, were admitted as members of France’s exclusive ‘Les Grandes Tables du Monde’.
“As a chef, I’ve always had two ambitions for my career. The first was to cook to the highest level of Michelin Stars and I’ve now done this at three of Europe’s great restaurants. The second has been to work at a leading lodge, where I can create the sort of environment where guests feel welcome and at home, almost as if they were in my own kitchen. For this reason, working with Huka Lodge is a dream come true for me.”
Paul brings a fresh approach to the contemporary fine dining menus he creates for the enjoyment of guests during their stay at this iconic property. New Zealand’s boutique producers and strong focus on free-range and organic production has aligned beautifully with Paul’s own desire to create stunning dishes based on peak seasonal availability. His estate-to-plate ethos has resulted in close relationships with growers, gatherers and farmers, as close to home as possible. Within the magnificent grounds at Huka Lodge this extends beyond an amazing herb garden to their very own beehives.
Paul is obsessive about the quality of the ingredients he uses and respecting the produce – preparing and presenting it in a way that best defines its very essence and taste. Achieving this may involve hours of preparation behind the scenes, and the final presentation is breathtakingly exquisite, while the textures and the flavour combinations are superb.
Born in Australia, to New Zealand parents, Nic Watt considers himself a be Kiwi. He spent his teenage years on this side of the Tasman and grew up with his parents’ love of food (and fishing). Nic was encouraged in his desire to train as a chef and when he moved to Japan after graduation, he found an instinctive home for his love of seafood, his adventurous palate, as well as a tradition for perfectionism in cuisine. Nic honed his skills at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, working with executive chef, Rainer Becker.
In 1998 Nic re-joined Becker as chef de cuisine in London’s Park Hyatt Knightsbridge following a stint as chef de partie in the city’s Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Nobu.
Nic returned to New Zealand in 2001 to the role of Executive Chef at Huka Lodge, using the finest local ingredients to produce cuisine that delighted our guests. During his time at Huka Lodge, Nic won awards and his first book, Chef’s Secrets from the Kitchen of Huka Lodge was published.
In 2004 Nic was called back to London by Becker to open Roka, the accessible version of Becker’s much-praised Zuma robata restaurant he had launched in 2002, with many awards to follow. Three years later, Nic was promoted to chief operating officer and partner, helping Becker launch Roka restaurants in London’s Canary Wharf (2009), Hong Kong (2010), Macau and Arizona.
By 2012, with a young family, Nic and his wife Kelly were enticed back home with the chance to open his own Japanese robata restaurant, MASU, in the revitalised dining precinct beside SKYCITY’s Grand Hotel in Auckland. Bringing to the task Nic’s beautiful, theatrical, design sensibilities defined by his travels around the world, with the mission of showcasing the robata grill-style of cooking, MASU evolved over many months of meticulous planning and consultation. It opened in 2013 to instant acclaim and awards quickly followed.
Madame Hanoi in South Australia followed in 2015, focused on the marriage of French and Vietnamese cuisine this stunning bistro has gone on to win recognition as “best Vietnamese in South Australia”.
TRUE food and yoga opened in Auckland in 2016 – award-winning wellness focused destination dining, with yoga studios, chiropractors, massage and beauty rooms.
Nic’s latest venture is Huami Chinese Restaurant and Bar – in collaboration with SKYCITY in Auckland. Nic conceptualised and brought this concept to fruition over a two-year period.
Nic loves what he calls the ‘perfection of simplicity’. “My food philosophy is very simple: every dish is stand-alone, packed with flavour, always focusing on enhancing the natural essence of the hero ingredient and allowing the food to garnish itself".
Presented with our compliments, at no additional cost beyond the normal rate.