My journey with cooking starts on the other side of the world. Originally from Austin, Texas (USA), Mexican and Tex-Mex food runs deep in my veins. The delicious flavours can be fresh and satisfying, succulent and spicy, or comfortingly warm and fuzzy. A good breakfast taco with potato, eggs and other ingredients can’t be beaten for breakfast, but is also the perfect food after a night on the town.
I now consider myself a true Wellingtonian, and you can regularly find me at the Saturday or Sunday market picking out fruits and vegetables for the week, whether a rainy gale is blowing away the onion skins, or the sun is ripening the avocados. I love our city’s evolving food scene, with its emphasis on local ingredients, innovative flavours, and community collaboration amongst providers.
Before becoming a chef, I worked in travel, which allowed me the opportunity to visit more than 40 countries. I’ve been lucky enough to learn to cook side by side with locals all over the world - learning regional dishes that people have cooked for generations. I’ve rolled tortillas in Guatemala, assembled Börek in Turkey, smashed curry pastes in Thailand, made risotto in Italy, and folded rice paper into fresh spring rolls in Vietnam.
I have been fascinated with food and cooking for a long time, and several years ago decided I wanted to work with food on a professional level. Wanting to develop more skills, I undertook work experience at Hippopotamus Restaurant, and then decided to return to study. I completed a Certificate in Food Preparation and Culinary Arts. A highlight of my course was when I participated in the Wellington Food Show Culinary Fair. As the overall winner of the category, I took home a silver medal in the salmon class for my Ponzu marinated Salmon on a bed of edamame, Asian mushrooms and miso pearl barley, served with roasted radishes, crispy kale “seaweed” and salmon roe, finished with a Japanese wasabi mayo dressing. This experience confirmed that developing delicious and accessible recipes is what I love to do!
My love for tacos has led me to bringing breakfast tacos to Wellington. These tacos can be ordered online, and with a minimum order, I'll deliver to your office! On Saturdays, you can find Taco Addicts at the Underground Market from 10am to 4pm, making tacos to order. We also participate in the summer festivals, including the Newtown Street Fair, Island Bay Festival, and Aro Valley Fair.
Sometimes you may find me teaching and assisting with cooking classes at Crave Cooking School & Production Kitchen, mostly based around eating with the seasons in Wellington. In need of a dessert? I can make you an American style dessert pie, special ordered for holidays and events. Miss pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving? Contact me and I can make you one, just like at home!
In addition to directing Easy as Kai, I am a casual chef for Ruth Pretty Catering and Laundry Bar on Cuba St. I’m continually learning and growing my relationship to food, and always looking for ways to make fresh, gorgeous cooking available to everyone.