Our Guest Chef Recipe Series

Every now and then, we give our Gourmet foodies a little taste of restaurant fare, right in the comfort of their own home. Our Guest Chef series, which launched in October 2013, has included recipes from some of our country’s most accomplished chefs.

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We approach chefs from our country’s top restaurants to contribute a favourite recipe of their choice. Our clever team of chefs then adapt the recipes, to make them suitable for you all to cook at home – I don’t know many people who have access to a full commercial kitchen for dinner!

It’s great to be able to create and then, most importantly, sample dishes from some of New Zealand's expert restaurateurs, with our featured chefs, to date, including Sid Sahrawat from SIDART, Volker Marecek from The Langham Auckland, Nic Watt from Masu, Martin Bosley, Alex Strobach from O’Connell Street Bistro, and Des Harris from Clooney Restaurant. Our latest guest chef recipe stars Nick Honeyman, from Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour. His Steamed Fish En Papillote with Asian Herbs and Japanese Rice features in next week’s Gourmet Bag.

Below is the recipe for one of our all-time top rated Gourmet dishes – a delicious Seared Venison and Sautéed Cherries with Fennel and Pear Slaw by Alex Strobach of the O'Connell Street Bistro.

Seared Venison and Sautéed Cherries with Fennel and Pear Slaw - By O'Connell Street Bistro

Serves: 2 – 3

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ready in: 35 minutes




400g agria potatoes

2 teaspoons olive oil



70g dried cherries

¾ cup red wine (e.g. merlot, syrah, cabernet sauvignon)

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon sugar



¼ red cabbage

1 baby fennel

1 pear

1 teaspoon finely chopped chives

1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons roughly chopped hazelnuts

2 teaspoons vinegar (e.g. white wine, cider, red wine)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil



300g venison medallions

1 tablespoon olive oil



Preheat oven to 220°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.

  1. Cut potatoes into 1.5cm cubes. Toss with olive oil in prepared tray and season with salt. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until crispy.
  2. Combine cherries and wine in a bowl and set aside to soak.
  3. While potatoes cook, very finely slice cabbage; trim and halve fennel lengthways and finely slice; quarter pear, remove core, thinly slice and cut into matchsticks. Combine all in a bowl with chives, parsley, hazelnuts, vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Set aside.
  4. Pat venison dry with paper towels. Season well and rub over olive oil. Heat a medium sized fry-pan on high heat. Sear venison medallions for 1 minute each side, to colour. Place into a small oven tray and roast for about 3 minutes for medium rare, or until cooked to your liking.
  5. Reduce fry-pan heat to medium heat. Melt butter and sprinkle over sugar, leave to caramelise for about 30 seconds, until just golden (it will happen quite quickly!). Pour in cherries and red wine and simmer for 6–7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until syrupy.
  6. Set venison aside to rest for about 5 minutes.

To serve, place some slaw and potatoes onto each place. Halve venison medallions and put on top of the potatoes. Spoon over sautéed cherries.

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