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Discover all our Chefs
Relais & Châteaux Chef

Marc Soper

Chef - Relais & Châteaux

Marc Soper
Wharekauhau Country Estate
Member Relais & Châteaux from 2016
Wharekauhau Road
5773 RD3 Featherston
New Zealand


Wharekauhau Country Estate


Wharekauhau Country Estate

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Story of a Chef

How did you become a Chef?

My grandmother was the most amazing cook and cooked everything in a wood fired oven which sparked my interest in cooking, along with my mother whom worked as a waitress and I would often go to work with her and wash dishes.

How would you define your cuisine?

Farm to table driven, utilizing what is grown on the property or nearby, utilizing products within a 45 minute drive and lessening the carbon foot print. The people whom grow or produce the products also influence my cooking. Foraging and being out amongst nature is inspiring and helps to mould the style based on the area we are located. A working farm surrounded by hills and water!

What are your favorites products and criteria for choosing?

I have so many favorite products, we are fortunate to have many local passionate people around us and I work closely with them, Goats cheese I get from one of my sons friends family, Olive oil from a lady in Martinborough whom selects her customers and ho they use her oils. Ora King salmon and Greenlea beef  whom I work as an ambassador for. Just to name a few. I always try to use as much local as possible and want to know how sustainable that item is.

What is your signature?

Farm to table, my style is to tell the story, every ingredient is there for a reason. Giving the guests a picture throughout the dining experience how the food was sourced and who the chef is through the processes of smoking and preserving bringing my childhood memories from within my grandmothers kitchen back to life. 

What professions surround you and what would you like to pass on to them?

Regular visits with suppliers, seeing how the animals roam the paddocks, understanding how where and why it was before it came to the kitchen. We have become so busy and often forget some of the small things. Learning from each other and sharing knowledge is important for progression, the diversity of my team and the varied skills they have brings together a stronger culinary team. 

Do you have a Chef’s tip for Sunday cooking?

One of my all time favorites in the summer: 

Pan fried whole flounder, lightly floured and cooked in butter, finished with a squeeze of lemon served with fresh picked green beans and toasted walnuts with Local olive oil and Toasted walnuts

Keep it simple and keep it fun, serve it on the table with new potatoes and a salad and allow the entire team or family to share