Heritage Auckland’s executive chef, Gerrard O’Keefe, continues the strong tradition of delicious vegan cuisine at Hectors restaurant.
Growing up in the 80s and mid-90s in Auckland, O'Keefe had a diverse domestic dining experience that would inform his passion for a life-long culinary career.
At home his father, a former Navy chef, was the main household cook with his mother happily making no contest for dinner duty.
“Because of Dad’s travels he brought a big range of international dishes to our dining table. Meals at our house were quite different from what most of my friends at school ate at home at the time. We dined on searing curries through to delicious Asian dishes most nights. I owe a lot of my culinary curiosity to my father,” says O'Keefe.
Upon leaving school in 1997, Gerrard took a course at the Auckland hotel and chef school which cemented his plan to make being a chef his career.
The OE soon called and he worked as head chef at the Regent Free House London, a Belgian eatery, before he moved to the Oxo Tower restaurant and brasserie.
Returning home to Auckland, he worked for Toto for Antonio Crisci, then continuing with the Italian theme joined Scoozi as head chef.
Later, he became a full-time tutor at NSIA (North Shore International Academy) for five years prior to joining Heritage Auckland, working alongside previous chef Jinu Abraham.
“I was drawn to join Heritage Auckland due to the profile the hotel had in advancing New Zealand’s plant-based vegan cuisine. When we became the first hotel to have a dedicated vegan menu, many in the industry scoffed.
“But I am proud we have since been acknowledged for being ahead of the trend. I personally love the challenge of vegan cuisine. It offers a lot of creativity as a chef, and I am enjoying bringing new flavours into the menus from my background and experience,” says O'Keefe.
Executive Chef Gerrard O’Keefe will assemble a delicious medley of nourishing gourmet vegan food in Hectors restaurant for the special event on October 27.
The degustation menu highlights include a pumpkin ravioli stuffed with toasted hazelnuts, smoked eggplant puree with Thai style eggplant salad and chilli ginger, a mushroom cappuccino, carrot ribbons with a kimchi lime chive gremolata, strawberry mousse and chocolate sorbet indulgence to finish. (All menu items are dairy free).
The vegan degustation dinner is priced at $120 per adult. (Alcoholic beverages not included). Reservations are essential.
Call T: 09 979 7434 for bookings and information or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hectors restaurant, Lobby level, Heritage Auckland, 35 Hobson Street, www.heritagehotels.co.nz
About Hectors restaurant
Heritage Auckland’s Hectors restaurant was the first hotel restaurant in New Zealand to introduce an extensive plant-based vegan menu range in 2011.
In 2013, Heritage Auckland’s Hectors restaurant was the first New Zealand restaurant to be vegetarian accredited by the Vegetarian Society of New Zealand.
Hectors restaurant dishes have secured many vegetarian dish awards and the restaurant has become a home for discerning vegan diners. The vegan, vegetarian and raw breakfast menu options run in tandem with omnivorous fare available in Hectors and other food outlets at Heritage Auckland. In all, Heritage Auckland caters for 13 special dietary requirements.