Sharing for knowledge, the next step…

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We believe that education needs to be a part of everybody’s life, in an ongoing way, with curiosity as the spark to learn and be creative.  We have done 2 of these collaborations and the third will take place this weekend. The main idea is to meet people and create a conversation about food, to listen to people’s ideas and concepts about their craft and how it could be done better, having in mind a respect for food and where it comes from: mother nature.

The concept of Sharing for Knowledge is taking a better shape now. We would love to add something more than just food  and wine on those nights, we would like our customers to remember those nights as memorable, something that becomes a part of their lives in some way; like planting a little seed that could become a sprout or even a tree. We want our customers  to take home some of the knowledge we share in the kitchen, probably with that little seed we plant on that day we could have a great harvest sometime in the future. That’s the next level, to make our guest part of our own journey for a dinning experience that they will remember for a long time.

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Garden, Spring 2013

So far, for this summer (from seed), in the terraces, raised and pots:

New Zealand Potatoes

  • Kowiniwini
  • MoeMoe
  • Waiporoporo
  • Karuparera
  • Huakaroro

Radishes, Raphanus Sativus

  • Cherrybelle
  • French Breakfast
  • Round Black Spainsh
  • Purple Plum
  • German Giant

Basil, Ocimum Basilicum

  • Greek Mini
  • Cinnamon
  • Red Opal
  • Thai Siam Queen
  • Dark Opal
  • Fino Verde
  • Corsican
  • Spicy Globe
  • Mrs Burns Lemon
  • Amethyst

Carrots

  • Scarlet Nantes
  • Paris Market

Lettuce, Latuca Sativa

  • Ice King
  • Buttercrunch
  • Freckles
  • Miners

What we do in the kitchen

Roots is about the food, we focus in the freshness of the product over the availability. The fresher the better, not because people said that, it is because we know it, we have a garden that is 5 meters away from the kitchen with herbs and vegetables that we pick on the day because we understand that a leaf or flower is a completely different thing 12 hours before with a different texture, flavor, etc. We source our vegetables just when we need them and sometimes we pick our own from the farms. This is luxury for us and for our guests at the restaurant.

A whole lamb is treated as a whole, I mean every different cut has the same value as any other. Only whole fish arrives when we need it, crabs are still walking and shellfish breathing, game birds by order and the day after being killed. It tastes different, for us… tastes how it should be,.. and for the animal it is giving them an honest respect for their life.

We like preserving, fermenting, cultures, good bacteria and yeast. With that we can create flavors and different textures, we can prolong product’s life and we nourish ourselves and our customers with these nutritious ingredients.

Legumes and whole foods are mostly local, and we keep them on the menu all the time, malted grains, sprouted seeds, cooking legumes. We loved the availability to bring a seed to life changing its characteristics making them better for us.

Is always a good day in our kitchen, with an ingredient based menu we can keep the creativity to make interesting and different things, we feel freedom with this style of cooking and that is what it is all about, when free we feel happy and that energy is transmitted to our customers through our dishes.

In response to words by Jax Hamilton in Avenues Magazine Issue 109

This is the first time we have replied to a review and it is because we want to address what we actually do as well as address the inaccuracies in your review.
This is the menu you had on that night:
Cheese Bread
Winter garden, ricotta, black beans
Pumpkin gnocchi, sour cream, onion sprouts
Parsnip and vanilla, carrots, jerusalem artichokes
Red cod, onion soup, crispy kale
Sourdough and olive oil
Pheasant, chlorophyll, egg
lamb neck, mushroom, linseed
HerbalTisane
Almond, coffee, caramel, hazelnuts and raw cacao
granita
 * The bread on this meal was freshly baked and served within 10 min out of the oven (returned unfinished), plus during the whole night tea from our garden was served throughout the evening at no cost.
the total meal: 2 canapes, 7 courses, bread and tisane. So not an actual 7 course meal.
There are more than 3 reds or whites wines by the glass on our list, there are a total of 13.
When you make the booking you were aware of our policy of only degustation and are asked the number of courses you would like and that we don’t offer a printed menu, unless if it asked for. We don’t print menus in advance because of the way we offer our service and food style, we use ingredients that for some people can sound unappealing and create a bad preconception of our dishes i.e. kina, oysters, cheeks, sweet roots dessert, skate wings, many of our customers have commented that some of their favorite dishes have been ones that they would never order from a menu , another reason is because it becomes in a short term a waste of paper, so the menu is offered at the end of the meal for people who would like to take home as a memory of the evening, as you received.
We have been running the service in the same style since we started, always explaining every course, we always do, and we have never given any hint of whats coming next (unless people would like us to make a wine recommendation, which in your case neither of you had anything to drink other than the complementary teas), it is a surprise and because it is a degustation the courses are set when people let us know about their restrictions, no restrictions means you are willing to try everything, with out knowing what is on the menu.
We confirmed your booking of seven courses by calling you one day prior to your booking day so you are aware of your seven course booking and just after arriving to the Restaurant you confirm your 7 course degustation when asked for, so no pressure on that. The reason we ask you is to minimize the waste in our kitchen as that is a main reason for degustation and our experience to create a more sustainable way of eating.
We are lucky to have a small restaurant, and we remember very well all of our customers, and your night is something that we will never forget. You were served not only by Christy, Brian and Giulio served you at the table and we know how important it is for the people to know about our food we always explain every single dish, with no excuse.
About a little hungry, your table is one if not the only one that has sent food back to the dishwasher in almost every dish, because we are conscious with food, we dont like waste, so the food you left on the plate went for the restaurants’ chickens breakfast the next day. Honestly we thought you were getting too full or had eaten too much prior to coming.
We value more than anything our customer first, we value their well being offering only the best produce that we can find and we dont look at the price cost of our products as a priority. You might be aware of food prices, food grown organically or sustainable has a higher cost than food produced by factory farming or highly processed ingredients like i.e. from Countdown, we know that.  Our food comes from local farms, from real people, farmers and families that every customer supports with their visit to our restaurant. So for the product you are eating actually you are getting incredible value for money not only for your pocket but for your health and wellbeing as well as sharing your investment with local families and farmers that contribute massively to Roots.
We can’t offer you an a la carte menu because is not what we do.
This restaurant is not about us, it is about the food and only the food, to showcase the respect that the farmers give to the land, our passion to cook in the best way we can and the passion to serve our guest to make them happy when they visit us.
The photo of the winter garden, is not the winter garden you had, that one was taking in summer.
If you want to get a better feel of what we do please visit our website or blog or this review from Zest, one week earlier than yours.
Roots Restaurant
rootsrestaurant.co.nz

We are feeling the winter

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Our first winter at Roots Restaurant, we feel lucky because it has not been like the past winter but some nights are very chilly, sometimes the southerly hits straight to the front door and the rain keeps us inside and not much in the garden. I start to understand our building and how it could be better, anyway nothing of this affects our way of cooking or servicing customers but I like to think a lot. If anything it is nice and warm inside with delicious aromas floating around that take you away from the chill of the outdoors.

I can’t say we have quite nights, I feel we are busier than when we started. Now it is like we have more babies than just Roots… all these other little projects we are running, and a few more in progress… Our team is still three people and we manage every single part of the whole operation, plus our families, I know we are super busy.

Our garden is on standby mode when talking about growing food, but it is getting ready and nicely shaped tidying up and trimming trees and plants to prepare them for spring. Our four chicks are making eggs again and us enjoying sunny sides breakfast. The beehive looks quite from outside but you can hear them working inside to stay warm and with loads of honey for November.

Stay in touch with us, there is a field trip to Auckland at the end of July, we will be in Dunedin working with The Lab in August, the Lyttelton Harbour Kura, Festival of Learning on September and so on…

Food projects, ideas and more

It has been almost 8 months since we opened Roots Restaurant, and we haven’t stopped for a minute to keep our project going and growing. A few projects have come to life during this time, like Project Taco that is a hit at the Lyttelton Farmers Market and in the last 2 months we have been doing our Pop-up Project Taco at The Colombo at lunch time during the week. Cheese Puffs is our latest project that we are planning to take all over New Zealand, this one is a particular bread very popular in South America and we have developed a recipe that works very well or even better than those I tried when I grew up. Cheese puffs are now served at Roots Restaurant as a first canapé  for our degustation menu, after we have many guests wanting to take these ones home, so we have decided to put them in the market. We have also started a large production for a big hotel in the region. All the ingredients are essential for us, working closer to producers and farmers to assure us that our products will continue to intrigue and satisfy our customers.

Roots Restaurant maintains it’s philosophy and continues to make people happy with our degustation menus, we have created an amazing relation with The Lab -food & design- from Otago Polytechnic having them for our first Sharing for Knowledge series at Roots with 4 students cooking side by side with us.

Today we received a box full of FOOL magazines (Best in the World food magazine), we wanted to be part of this project since I got the first issue, the information it contains is so valuable and the photography is inspiring, every article makes you want to read it more and more. We really hope to share this magazine around the country and introduce it to more and more people. So now we start with a limited amount of Fool magazines in NZ, with the vision to bring more and more as the reader base here in New Zealand grows.

What’s the idea? to make all this projects sustainable by themselves and keep producing and creating more projects in the future. We have been thinking in many ways to get this ones going, like pledgeme.co.nz and the more direct one is talking to people or like this post on our blog to put our idea in the universe.

Are you interested, you have something to say? please, talk to US!