New Zealand born Jonathan Rogers began his training studying professional cookery at Manukau Institute of Technology from 1998 -1999. His early formative years of his career were spent working for renowned Auckland restaurateur Tony Adcock at Orbit and Harbourside Seafood Bar & Grill.
Eager to gain overseas experience, Jonathan relocated to Canada in 2005 and worked under one of Canada’s top chefs, Melissa Craig at Bear Foot Restaurant in Whistler, B.C. Jonathan cites this as the time that he really began to develop as a chef and forge a cooking style of his own. Working under Melissa’s tutelage and alongside the incredibly talented team she assembled, and the opportunity to work with diverse and quality produce all had a profound effect on Jonathan.
Returning to New Zealand in 2007, Jonathan worked in Queenstown at The Spire Luxury Hotel under Chef Rex Morgan. Rex appointed Jonathan to his first Head Chef opportunity and he remains a valued mentor. In 2009 Jonathan helped the owners of the Bay of Many Coves Resort in Marlborough Sounds set up their property as a dining destination.
A career opportunity came in October 2011 when Jonathan was invited to join the kitchen brigade at Matakauri Lodge in Queenstown under group Executive Chef Dale Gartland. With Dale relocating to sister property Kauri Cliffs in 2012, Jonathan was appointed Head Chef at Matakauri Lodge.
2012 brought many great challenges and highlights for Jonathan in his role as Head Chef at Matakauri Lodge. His cuisine has been featured in many great publications and most recently was a contributing factor in Matakauri Lodge being named Best Luxury Lodge in The Australian Wish Magazine, August 2012.
1. What is your philosophy when it comes to food?
Showcasing local, seasonal, wild foods and also supporting heirloom, artisan and boutique producers, purveyors.
2. Name your most Favorite dish on the menu? And why?
Confit Duck Ragout, Jerusalem artichoke variations, winter crumble. Duck and artichokes are two of my favourite ingredients and this dish is all about showcasing the 2 of them with interesting textural contrasts.
3. Main considerations when it comes to choosing your ingredients?
The provenance and seasonality of the ingredient, is there an interesting back story or point of difference. Flavour – how does the peach from this orchard compare to the orchard from across the road that grows a organic heirloom variety for example.
4. How do you see the growing demands for sustainable produce affecting the food world?
It would be amazing to see a shift away from the industrialized farming methods that have defined the 20th century and a move back to small, passionate artisan farms and producers that practise traditional farming methods of crop and livestock rotation.
5. If you weren’t a chef, or in the food business, what would you be?
6. Do you have a memorable food experience that impacted you as a child or young chef?
Not really, but when I was 11 I hurt my back very badly and was off school for about 9 months, I was very bored most of the time and the highlight of the day was watching an old cooking show called Yan Can Cook. I think this is where my interest in food originated.
7. What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
It sounds bit cheesy but taking the most beautiful products available in nature and turning it into a dish that is delicious and beautiful.
8. Other than creating good food, what are the most important qualities that make a successful chef?
Time management and work ethic.
9. If you had a choice of anything for your last meal, what would you choose to have?
My last restaurant meal would hands down be at eleven Madison park in new York and the last dish would be my late father’s roast chicken.
10. Do you have any tips for budding chefs or restaurateurs?
Be prepared to put in the hours. Master chef is a false reality , young chefs need to spend as much time as possible in the kitchens of renowned chefs and work their way up through the ranks, learning as much as possible before they even consider becoming a sous or head chef.
Invest in cookbooks and never stop trying to learn more about food or the global restaurant scene.
569 Glenorchy Road, Queenstown, Closeburn 9371, New Zealand
PHONE:+64 3-441 1008