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Discover all our Chefs
Relais & Châteaux Chef

Michele Martino

Chef - Relais & Châteaux

Michele Martino
Helena Bay Lodge
Member Relais & Châteaux from 2017
1948 Russell Road
0184 RD4 Hikurangi
New Zealand


Helena Bay Lodge


Helena Bay Lodge

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Story of a Chef

How did you become a Chef ?

From an early age, i used to spend time with my uncles fishing of the East coast of Italy. When we returned, we would sell our fresh catch to the local restaraunts. Seeing the restaraunt full of happy guests enjoying the freshest produce was something that filled me with fascination and  curiosity. The Chefs in these restaraunts, seemed to me, to be the creators of something very special in life. A feeling that lives with me to this day.

How would you define your cuisine ?

Coming from the South of Italy, and having had the good fortune in life to learn from some of the finest Italian Chefs, including the legendary Don Alfonso. I can say that my Cuisine is defentley based on the ‘Mediterranean diet’.

What are your favourite products and criteria for choosing ?

I don’t have a favourite list of vegetables, meat or fish. I think that all ingredients are different and provide unique taste and texture to any recipe.
The most important thing for me when selecting  fresh ingredients, is sourcing local produce from organic growers and small scale farms like ours here at Helena Bay.

What is your signature ?

Here at Helena Bay, because we have and grow most of what we need on our farm – we have the privelage of being able to offer our guests, exclusive experinces at the table. Everything that comes from the heart becomes the next signature dish ! Obviously pasta is my favourite though.

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

Sunday lunch is a sacred day in the South of Italy. It is the day of the week we gather round the family dinner table and spend quality time together. Sharing generous amounts of traditional dishes from the region. One recipe that you will find on all the tables – ‘Meat Ragu’. Slow cooked for 12 hours. Pork ribs, Basciola (rolled meat) or beef shin. All cooked in garlic infused tomato sauce. So yummy !