A Passion For Food
Mark Griffiths has a passion for food. Fresh food. Local food. Delicious food. Ever since the 1970s the UK-born chef has cooked all over the world giving him a considerable expertise in the culinary arts.
Thirty years ago, while working on a cruise ship, he met a passenger called Carmel. The Kiwi girl won his heart, became his wife, and led him to our shores. The pair spent time getting away to both Omaha and Waiheke, as Carmel’s parents owned a bach in each spot. Mark found himself more at home in the Omaha region than Waiheke Island. “I think it could be a little more manicured, a little more English than Waiheke,” says Carmel.
A decade ago, while looking for a 10-acre block of land no more than an hour’s drive from Auckland, Matakana became home. The couple weren’t intending to live there until retirement, but the idea of a caravan on a block of land soon gave way to the house and vineyard they purchased.
Mark now divides his time between lecturing at AUT and running food tours and cooking classes from The Gourmet Within.
“Food tours are huge in Europe,” he says. “I take people on a tour of the markets to meet the local producers and buy their food. The visitors love learning the back-stories. I also show them the Community Garden we have in Matakana and we’ll compare produce from the supermarket with fresh produce from the market and the gardens. There’s no comparison in terms of freshness. Then we come back here and I show them how to prepare a three-course meal using what they’ve bought.”
The Gourmet Within features what is known as an incubator commercial kitchen, which means food made within can be on-sold. Mark will hire it out for those who wish to make use of the facility. He also makes The Gourmet Within Macarons, Turkish Dukkah, and Paleo Muesli for Ooooby.org (out of our own backyards), an enterprise whose mission it is to repair our food system and bring us back to a more natural, more wholesome, more local food supply.
Whether it’s a food tour, cooking class, (surprisingly affordable) private dining experience or even a commercial kitchen for your own enterprise you’re after, The Gourmet Within can deliver.
Visit thegourmetwithin.co.nz for Mark’s map of the Top 10 Food Destinations in our region.