We figured it was time to introduce some of the people behind the sensational flavours at LittleWolf! Our chefs are second to none, hailing from a variety of kitchens to have finally landed here with us. From morning teas to bespoke menu items, our chefs can do it all.

Simon joined LittleWolf in 2023 & has been cheffing for 31 years.

What do you enjoy most about working in the catering industry?

Simon regularly works at different venues. Being onsite means he has direct communication with our clients, which is a point of difference to working in a restaurant. He explains, “it’s awesome having the bride personally thank you on her wedding day.” He loves seeing client satisfaction firsthand. Simon believes, a true chef should be able to cater in any setting, not just a kitchen.

Can you tell us about your favourite event you’ve catered?

Speaking of unconventional settings, Simon’s favourite event with LittleWolf was catering on Rua Moana. A chartered superyacht which was moored at Motutapu island. He was catering for 80 people, soaking up the sun while clients enjoyed jet skiing and sea bobbing (Simon’s favourite.) His history with onboard catering goes back several years, after working on yachts in the Mediterranean Milk Run. Antibes, Nice, Sardinia and many more. Rua Moana was no doubt a trip down Milk Run memory lane.

Name the three kitchen tools you can’t live without?

Upon asking this question, one might expect Simon’s answer to be “a knife.” What one mightn’t expect, is “a knife maker.” Forging his own knives is a passion of his! He explains, “every meal I cook, I do so with my own knives.” Simon also believes the whisk is one of the most important tools for creating sauces. When he started cheffing, he wanted to be a Saucier. Translating from French to sauce chef. The whisk, in Simon’s eyes is a very “scientific” tool, fantastic for emulsifying. His honourable mention was a tablespoon. Tasting, stirring, you name it. A tablespoon can do it.

What is a dish you grew up on?

Simon was “born into restaurants.” His family had their own when he was young. He grew up eating plenty of fish as it was easy to cook and readily available from his family’s restaurant. The dish in question is Fish en Papillote. White fish, baked in a tinfoil parcel with cheese, a knob of butter and spring onion. A simple, yet sophisticated family dinner.

Jay joined LittleWolf in 2018 and has been cheffing her entire professional life.

You do a lot of the canapes for our events; how do you ensure the food quality remains consistent?

Canapes are a crowd favourite at any event. They allow guests to stay present in conversations while still enjoying delicious bite-sized offerings. Perhaps what makes canapes so impressive is their uniformity. Jay explains, to keep canapes consistent, you must know each ingredient inside and out. Don’t let their small size fool you, there are many components to remember. Not to mention, having patience & a steady hand! 

What’s your favourite item on our menu?

At LittleWolf, we love showcasing the finest ingredients our country has to offer.  Here in Aotearoa, our pastures provide us with the best lamb in the world. Jay’s favourite dish is our Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder. Served with mint, Greek yoghurt dressing & pomegranates, this dish a slice of the Mediterranean from our own backyard. It’s no surprise it’s number 1 on Jay’s list.

What’s the most exciting part about creating a dish?

Our menu is centered around fresh, seasonal produce. Jay loves getting involved with the presentation of menu items, visualising which colours and textures work together. She explains,
it’s all about knowing what’s in season and getting the best flavours.  Be it fresh summer berries, or winter citrus. Designing a menu that aligns with the seasons is the way to go. As a result, you get vibrant & delicious food all year round!

Vianney joined LittleWolf in 2019 & has been cheffing for 24 years.

What is the most challenging part of the catering industry?

Vianney believes most of catering is a balancing act. Getting the timings right during service can be a finicky job, especially when things don’t go to plan! Speeches may run over time which prolongs the wait for food service. The unpredictability of timings at an event is tricky. Vianney explains, you need to adapt to keep things smooth sailing.

Do you have a favourite cuisine?

Vianney is partial to any kind of seafood, particularly Hāpuku. He admittedly isn’t great at catching it; however, he loves Hāpuku for its versatility and subtle flavour. Whether it’s cooking or eating, seafood has a special place in Vianney’s heart. Being based in Auckland, we are fortunate enough to serve up & enjoy some of the freshest seafood in the country!

What ingredient is guaranteed to make anything taste better?

Although he believes this to be a little controversial, it’s coriander. This fragrant herb is one that divides us, some finding its flavour soapy rather than herby. Vianney is the latter, he loves the freshness it brings to a dish. It’s a popular ingredient when designing menu items, such as our Katsu Chicken Bao. Coriander could be considered an underrated ingredient to many, Vianney included!

Matt L (Head Chef of Delivered Catering) joined LittleWolf in 2016 & has been cheffing for 27 years.

What inspired you to become a chef?

Matt started his career in 1996. He says, truthfully, he decided to get into cheffing as many of his friends were doing the same. The pace and variety of the job is what appealed most. Like many hospitality workers, he enjoys the buzz and excitement of staying busy. Matt explains, cheffing is “all he knows,” after dedicating years to his craft.

What are some trends you’ve observed in the catering industry, and how do you incorporate them into our menu?

Gone are the days of traditional à la carte menus with entrées and mains! For many events nowadays, people are opting for shared table instead of individual dishes. Matt says, “most of the popular restaurants in Auckland are going down this route too.” The demand for shared menus has increased recently and we are loving it! He explains, “everything about it works – it’s a conversation starter for guests, the pacing is perfect, and it allows space for a variety of dishes.” We have an extensive delivered buffet menu to create this sharing-style atmosphere at your next event or home!

What are some qualities of a great chef?

Matt’s non-negotiables are punctuality and cleanliness. He takes pride in always being on time and having a clean space. If your workspace is messy, you can’t expect to create great food. They should also be good-natured and a clear communicator. While we believe that’s important for any role, a great chef knows how to work collaboratively.

What is the dish you make most often at home?

Matts tried & true is Spaghetti Bolognese. He says with a 3, 6 and an 8-year-old running around, sometimes, you just want spag bol. This tasty pasta dish is unofficially a Kiwi classic, especially with little ones in mind. It’s an easy way to sneak in veggies, like grated carrots and courgettes. Matt’s secret is Worcestershire sauce & tomato ketchup. He advises, the flavour is always better the next day. So, make your batch a day earlier for a richer sauce!

– Cas P (Corporate Catering)

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