National | Food

London-based Māori chef cooks hāngī-inspired feast fit for a King

London-based Ngāti Raukawa chef Matt Burgess designs menus for a restaurant chain – and it’s impressing the foodies of England.

His dishes have also been tasted by celebrities, dignitaries and even world leaders such as former South Africa Prime Minister Nelson Mandela.

With King Charles III’s ascension to the throne, it’s only right that Burgess came up with an exclusive Māori-inspired banquet fit for a king.

Cooking up a storm in South Woodford, in London borough Redbridge, Wellingtonian Burgess made his version of hāngī for reporters Ngahuia Wade and Tina Wickliffe inside a smoker: 65-day-aged rib of beef, kūmara from Aotearoa and more.

“I sourced the beef from a Kiwi-owned company. Cost-wise in the UK, it’s about £185,” he says.

Kai is in Matt’s blood, so much so that the group executive chef for London’s Caravan Restaurants’ version of a man cave is a second kitchen, as he showed Wade and Wickliffe at his home.

Mum's recipes

His career has seen him in the kitchens of England’s beloved chefs Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver.

The magic sauce in his kai? “It’s home,” he says. “You speak to any Brit and they will tell you that Kiwis are the best workers. We’re absolutely loved over here.”

The versatile and creative kaitunu kai also cooked up one of the Queen’s favourite desserts to go with his hāngī masterpiece: Victoria Sponge, just cooked inside a barbecue.

In honour of his mother who has died, Burgess is planning on opening his own restaurant using a thousand recipes handed down from her – modernised and with an Asian spin.