Portlander’s new executive chef, Tim McClay-Talivai, has had an epic international adventure on his road to their doorstep. From his first stop in Brussels, through Switzerland, Spain, Scotland, Canada and, most recently, Coffs Harbour, Tim has now arrived in the culinary capital to take Portlander to the next level of deliciousness and innovation.
Tim became a chef the day he left school in Taupo aged 16. Since then, he’s spent the majority of his 25-year career in top restaurants overseas. Highlights include training in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Brussels, cooking for President Mobutu in Zaire and working aboard super yacht Mana in the Mediterranean.
Tim’s New Zealand stints were spent running his own catering company in Auckland for ten years, and working at the famous Chateau Tongariro and at Zino’s in Island Bay. His favourite thing about working as a chef is the rush of service when everything is working like a well-oiled machine!
Look out for McClay-Talivai in the kitchen when you’re next in — he’s the man in black who looks “funky, fun and focused with finesse”.
Apple cider pork belly with truffle mash and vine tomatoes
- 1kg of local free-range pork belly
- 500ml crisp apple juice
- 250ml Monteith’s Crushed Apple Cider (or your preference)
- 150ml apple cider vinegar
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 3 star anise
- 8–12 Roma tomatoes, still on the vine
- Virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- 1kg Agria potatoes
- 100g butter
- 75ml cream
- 10ml truffle oil
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Score the pork belly skin diagonally with a sharp knife to a depth of 5–10mm.
- Rub with sea salt and place skin down in a deep roasting dish on waxed baking paper. Cover with the liquid ingredients and spices.
- Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and turn the belly skin up. Remove any excess liquid (which should be reducing nicely by now) so the crackle is uncovered, then return to oven for a further 90 minutes.
- During this time, check regularly on your crackle. Once it has developed to your liking, cover it with a loose sheet of tin foil (hint: don’t seal the tin foil as this will soften the crackle).
- During the last 20 minutes of cooking, place your vine tomatoes in a dish, drizzle with virgin olive oil and sea salt, and roast in the oven until the skins starts to split.
- To make the truffle mash, peel and boil the potatoes till soft, then whip them or push them through a fine sieve.
- In a separate pan, bring the butter, cream and truffle oil to a boil. Add this to your potato until you reach your desired consistency and season with salt to taste.
- When the pork is cooked, rest it for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve on a bed of truffle mash with a few vine-roasted tomatoes, and drizzle over the reduced roasting sauce (if this sauce is too tart, add some brown sugar to taste before serving).
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