Sue Fleischl – the culinary mastermind behind The Great Catering Company, has yet another string to add to her bow as the creative director behind Auckland’s newest boutique venue - Abbeville Estate.
Concealed from even the most curiously inclined, the beautifully restored heritage-listed buildings on the Estate offer the opportunity to tailor the most extraordinary events, whether it is an unforgettable wedding or an outstanding corporate function.
Opening at the end of the month we had the chance to chat with Sue about the gorgeous venue and her passion for it, and food:
When did your love affair with food begin?
When I was 11 years old, in form one at Napier Intermediate School. I loved our cooking classes. (I was not very good at sewing classes) Something just clicked for me…
How did you become involved with the Abbeville restoration project andwhat was it that drew you towards it?
It was 2 years ago that had a very memorable phone call from Sean Thompson from Auckland Airport Property asking if I would like to look at an old house and barn they owned. That triggered all sorts of images, interest and excitement!
How long did the restoration take and what was the biggest triumph?
This has been a 2 year project, lots of meetings and planning with a highly efficient team of people. The biggest triumph was seeing the old to new transformation.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the landscaping of Abbeville: The brief that was discussed with the garden designers was –
• To have flat open spaces for large marquees (yes the power is in place as well)
• Colour in the garden all year
• The ability to pick flowers/produce all year
• Easy walking access between spaces
What sort of occasions can the venue be used for?
The possibilities are vast as Abbeville has different spaces on offer– weddings, funerals, birthdays, corporate entertainment, conferences, concerts, wine/food festivals, art exhibitions, Christmas parties, car launches…
We hear the Estate has a resident pigeon living in the barn! Does he getinvited to all the parties?
Mr Hoo is a real interesting character. Not your everyday pidgeon. He greets me as I arrive; sometimes he follows me around, and lets me know when he is hungry. He rules the estate! The builders of the last 18 months named him.
Are you still hands-on in the Great Catering Company kitchen?
I would love to be! I am really in my element when I have my hands in the raw ingredients. My chefs are great at coming up with new ideas that are in the style of the business. I have a fantastic head chef who I can easily communicate with. I am honestly - busy with clients, decision-making, and finding new roads for business direction.
Cooking for the Royal Family…. On a scale of cool as a cucumber to fish out of water – how nerve-wracking was it?
Cooking for the Metro restaurant of the Year Awards is far more nerve wracking than cooking for the Queen! Royalty want simple, tasty, easy to eat food. They never complain and are always gracious. Lets say we simmer along nicely… The food is the easy part, getting the service right is the challenging part.
Your favourite ingredient is:
Any one that is/has worked with me will love this – good quality salt! I want everything seasoned to the nth degree. I truly believe that salt and acid brings out the flavour in food.
What has been your most triumphant dish at an event, and your biggest disaster?
Triumphant – There have been many
• a twice baked goat cheese and garlic soufflé for over 200 people
• Steamed banana puddings with butterscotch sauce
• But recently it has been interesting flavoured macaroons, baby chocolate mousse, rolled Pavlova. Old fashioned but perfectly cooked with little twists…
Disaster – This was years ago - when I didn’t know better… I was asked to cook fish and chips in a mobile kitchen for one hour to an unknown audience for the annual Fish and Chip Awards in Aotea Square. Why on earth did I accept this challenge? It was myself and one other chef. The queue went down Queen St as it was advertised on the radio! NEVER again!
Life is like dancing. If we have a big floor, many people will dance. Some will get angry when the rhythm changes. But life is changing all the time. Miguel Angel Ruiz
microfusione Join the Discussion..
One doesn’t discover new lands without losing sight of the shore. Andre Gide
New Member says
Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find so... Join the Discussion..
You talking to me? Taxi Driver, 1976
New Member says
Extremely pleasant article, I appreciated perusing your post, exceptionally decent share, I need to... Join the Discussion..
uDraw Studio: Instant Artist
New Member says
Thanks for sharing this information about this artist here. I appreciate this information, and... Join the Discussion..
Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time
New Member says
Learning about doc clock here is great for me, and now I can use this information in the project I... Join the Discussion..
Secure your motivation for the year by locking in SpringBreak in Fiji, your own exclusive island
The Fijian Cup
The Pacific Touch Rugby festival (Fijian Cup and Kava Cup) is underway on November 2, 2017 and with support from Touch Fiji and...
Rock Island VANUATU
From a fully chartered resort, an incredible line up of Kiwi musicians and Rock legends flown in you'll find nothing close to...
Summit FIJI aims to revolutionise how businesses can approach conferences, corporate retreats and team building weekends