I was attached to the home we grew up in, to the little things that made that place home. Watching my proud parents grow roses and teaching us how to grow veggies, to building toy’s with Dad while Mum was making our clothes. My parents worked hard and made us work and save money to pay our way at the early age of 5.
Para pools, trampolines with exposed metal frames and double bouncing while baking in the sun, sunscreen free was and still is some of the best days of my life. As a child I would stare at the stars dreaming of the future and the world I would explore, just like my Nana did. Little did I know, I would spend the rest of my life using art and food to take me back to those moments that meant so much to me, to take me home to 4 Tavistock Street, the home I learnt to dream in.
Every morning my Dad would wake at 6 and leave straight for work, before he would leave he would make me and my brother a Milo and leave it on the kitchen bench to cool. We would wake ready for school to the smell of malt and sound of cartoons. I didn’t realise the impact that would have on my brother and my life until recently.
My first head chef job
The Tin Soldier in Ponsonby, Auckland, was the stage for my first act. A chance to remember that morning routine, to taste that milo and take me home. The first dish I put on the menu was named “Milo”
It was served in a tin cup and was made up of my childhood memories of a milo. Milk ice cream, malt, the smell of spiced sugar and the cool creamy taste of that green can. Serving a fancy dish in a tin cup in a fancy restaurant in Ponsonby wasn’t the done thing but it made sense to me. Watching the joy on peoples face when they received that dish, one taste took them back to their childhood and for a moment nothing else in the world mattered. That made me realise how important nostalgia was and that 4 Tavistock street wasn’t just my old home, it was the place my art was born.
Creativity can be hard, its not easy and doesn’t come naturally. It can feel forced and taught, it can feel like it’s something we have or don’t have. Give a pen and paper to a person and they will draw a picture, tell them to be creative and they will draw a blank.