Michael Van de Elzen Interview
Michael Van de Elzen Interview
FAST is your fourth cookbook in as many years – with TV shows and media appearances, how on earth are you finding the time?

Mike Van de Elzen

It’s a good thing you didn’t ask my wife this question because the answer would be completely different! It is very busy at the moment but it is an exciting time. I have wanted to write this cookbook for a long time and it is exciting to see it in print now.
Your food preferences seem to have gone from sophisticated bistro dining to an even more rustic approach. Is this where you’re more comfortable, or will we see you moving into more genres of cooking in the future?

Mike Van de Elzen

Life is a lot more casual these days and people eat out more often so appealing to these needs is important. But I love to create food that is flavoursome and good for you and this is very much the premise of Fast and my new restaurant that will open at the end of August. I’ve recently done a weekend cooking at Cape Kidnappers that was based more on fine dining and it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the opportunity to create in a more formal way.
With FAST, you’re aiming to make cooking more accessible by making it easier and faster. How difficult has it been to achieve the balance between speed and quality?

Mike Van de Elzen

Ultimately the readers and users of this book with by the judge of that but I haven’t found it difficult at all and I feel they quality of the dishes is there. This is where flavour comes into its own. Sometimes the ability to make something fast is about the choice of ingredients – in season ingredients is vital to making life easier.
You’re cooking with your kids in the book – are they active participants in the Van De Elzen kitchen, and do they influence your work outside of the home?

Mike Van de Elzen

Just try and stop them! They love to have a wooden spoon in their hands particularly…I like to involve the children with the cooking as they have a better understanding of what’s involved plus are more likely to eat it because they’ve had a hand in it. The girls tested the bulk of the dishes and some of their facial expressions were priceless. Good fun.They are a huge influence – they keep both Bee and I on the straight and narrow when it comes to stress levels – anyone who has had a sick child knows these are the things to stress about not whether you got a corporate gig or not. I am a bit of a worrier and the girls and Bee have helped immensely in keep life in balance and taking time out.
What would you like to see more of in a typical New Zealand kitchen?

Mike Van de Elzen

More fresh veges. We simply don’t eat enough as a nation.
Your own personal favourite dish from FAST?

Mike Van de Elzen

It’s hard to pin it down to one, all the dishes are great. It really depends on what mood you are in and what you feel like cooking and eating.
And what’s the best meal you’ve eaten in Auckland in the last month?

Mike Van de Elzen

Something I cooked from my FAST cook book of course!

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