anne thorp - Pakiri


Anne Thorp (Ngāti Awa/Ngai Te Rangi) is a chef who divides her time between her homes in Auckland and Pakiri. Her cookbook, Kai Ora, was published a few years ago and Anne also had her own cooking show which aired on Maori TV and The Food Channel. These days though, she’s a busy woman who consults on a number of restaurant projects – most recently, Matakana’s soon-to-open Sculptureum on Omaha Flats Road. 30

Anne’s culture is hugely important to her – the concept of manaakitanga is central to her personal philosophy. It’s about the culture of warm and open hospitality, about aroha, kindness and generosity. “I love feeding people; it’s a cultural thing. While I cook, my friends and whanau sit at the kitchen window and tell stories, sing and often dance. There is always plenty of laughter.”

Her message, through her cooking, is all about simple, healthy food using the freshest produce. “Good honest food and being organised are the key factors for any gathering to ensure a relaxed, confident persona! Fun is foremost on my list, for me and for my guests. I love making people smile.”

Anne’s all about entertaining, both here and in her home in Auckland. But she says, “this is my sanctuary.” The house, perched on the hill with its 180 degree views from one end of Pakiri Beach to the other, was finished in 1999 – the same year as Anne was diagnosed with breast cancer. She came here to recover her strength after treatment, and says the Pakiri environment was a big part of her healing process. She looks down at the sea; the crashing of the long white lines of breakers is just audible. “This view… it’s so therapeutic. It’s a very spiritual place. It’s just paradise on earth.”


Anne became an Ambassador for the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and this is another large part of her life, travelling the country and talking about early detection. She’s off to the Cook Islands soon to take the message there as well.


What else does the next few months hold? She’ll be overseeing the menu as Executive Chef for Te Ropu Wahine Maori Toko i te Ora – the Maori Women’s Welfare League’s annual conference at Ellerslie Racecourse at the end of September; tutoring on manageable menus for the new homeless shelter at Manurewa Marae – and heading to Europe soon with her best friend to celebrate 40 years of friendship. This is a woman who doesn’t slow down much – and who finds plenty of joy along the way.

Anne occasionally gives cooking demonstrations in her home, and can also cook for you as a private dining experience. Contact her via her website or email below.  |



Slow-Cooked Beef Cheeks and Beer with Gremolata

Serves 4


Given the challenge of using beer for cooking beef was an interesting one as I would always use red wine! I experimented with Sawmill beers thinking a dark beer would work, but ended up using a Pilsner – and chicken stock rather than beef. I found it made the whole dish lighter and sweeter. And the gremolata really takes it to another level. Enjoy!


Serves 4  |  Prep time 20 mins  |  Cook 9 hours

2 beef cheeks, trim fat, coat with seasoned flour

1 cup olive oil

4 carrots cut into thick 10 or 12 cm long batons

2 or 3 bay leaves

1 large onion, sliced

3 garlic cloves, chopped roughly

¼ cup fresh thyme

4 sage leaves finely chopped

330 mls Sawmill Pilsner beer

500 mls chicken stock

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon green peppercorns

1 tablespoon capers

1 red chilli, sliced

1 lemon grass bulb, peeled, and sliced thinly

½ cup chopped parsley

12 whole button mushrooms

Flaky salt, fresh ground pepper



Zest of one lemon and one lime, 3 garlic cloves chopped finely

1 chilli, diced finely, ½ cup parsley, ¼ cup capers Sprinkling of extra virgin olive oil

Heat frypan with ½ cup olive oil, fire in the carrots and bay leaves cooking them slowly and turning them so as not to catch or burn. Remove from pan once lightly caramelised and put into crockpot or slow cooker.

Add a little more oil to pan and fry onions gently.  Add garlic, thyme and sage and keep tossing for a minute or 2.

Add to carrots. Add rest of oil to pan and sear the beef cheeks 2 to 3 minutes each side. Add to crockpot. Add beer, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, capers, chilli, lemon grass, parsley and mushrooms.

Slow cook overnight or for 9 hours or until cheeks are cooked through and tender. Garnish with gremolata mix over the top. This gives extra flavour, zest and body to the dish.

Serve with kumara mash.