Brought up on a farm outside Hamilton in New Zealand, Josh Emett discovered cooking and his love of food at a young age. A typical active farm boy found him always hungry and was encouraged to cook something rather than complain.
As he approached the end of his schooling he had decided he did not want a nine to five office career and decided to follow his passion for food. He trained at Waikato Polytechnic in Hamilton and spent 18 months at Cin Cin on Quay in Auckland, in the early 90s this was the jewel in the city’s food scene.
Like so many New Zealanders, Josh had a yearning to see the world and in 1994 he headed overseas. He spent 2 years in London and specifically a year working at Coast restaurant in Mayfair with Steven Terry. His next move took him to Australia where he worked under Donovan Cooke for three years at est est est, which at the time was one of Melbourne’s most highly regarded restaurants.
In 1999, Josh left Melbourne and headed back to Europe, this time for the south of France to work as a chef on luxury yachts and save money and make it possible to get back to London. Once back in London he headed to the kitchen of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea and asked Gordon Ramsay for a job. At the time this was considered one of the most ferocious kitchens in London. He joined Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea as Senior Chef de Partie and quickly worked his way up the ranks in the kitchen. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay was awarded three Michelin stars, making it the only three-star restaurant in London. This further fueled Josh’s drive for perfection and success.
In 2001, Josh was selected to be included in the team to launch the critically acclaimed Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's with good friend and colleague Mark Sargeant. The opening was a huge success and based on that 18 months later Josh was ask to be Head Chef alongside Chef Patron Marcus Wareing to reopen The Savoy Grill following the much talked about refurbishment. In January 2004, Josh and Marcus’s efforts were rewarded when The Savoy Grill won a Michelin star, its first in more than 100 years of operation.
In late 2006, Josh moved to New York to oversee Gordon Ramsay at The London NYC and later opened Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood. Within 10 months, Gordon Ramsay at The London NYC was awarded two Michelin stars and later Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood one Michelin star. Josh received exceptional reviews for his cooking in both the American and British press. Additionally Josh was also named New York Rising Star Chef in 2008, appeared in Hell’s Kitchen USA as a guest judge and appeared in Food Network’s new show “Chopped” which he won hand’s down against 3 other NYC chefs.
In 2010 Josh moved to Melbourne to open Gordon Ramsay’s first two restaurants in Australia – maze and maze Grill along with the entire food and beverage operation in Crown’s newest hotel and the largest hotel in Australia, Crown Metropol. Josh appeared on MasterChef Australia as celebrity chef and later in the year as guest judge on MasterChef New Zealand. These appearances caught the producer’s eye and soon after he was offered to join Masterchef New Zealand as full time judge for the second series. The second series totally exceeded rating expectations.
In May 2012 Josh opened his first New Zealand restaurant Rata in Queenstown with business partner and highly regarded restaurateur, Fleur Caulton. Rata showcases Emett’s impeccable cooking skills and his love of slow cooked dishes, robust flavours and elegant, well-balanced, inspired cuisine. A relaxed eating-house with a neighbourhood feel, Rata offers incredible service and delicious food.
Also in 2012 Emett launched Chefs Series, a restaurant-quality slow-cooked gourmet supermarket range available throughout NZ. Josh then filmed the 4th season of MasterChef New Zealand, which launched in NZ in February 2013.
2013 was a huge year for Josh starting with him continuing to grow and develop his Chef Series range throughout the year. For summer he released the pre-marinated raw chicken portions and pre-cooked pork ribs which are perfect for grilling or barbecuing. Chef series is now easily available and can be found at your local New World, Farro Fresh, Nosh, selected Pak’n’Save stores and selected Countdown Stores.
In November 2013 Josh opened Ostro restaurant, taking on the position of food director. Situated in the new Seafarers Building, Britomart, Auckland, Ostro is New Zealand’s interpretation of an international-style brasserie. Ostro delivers an unpretentious environment while still being upscale, fun and full of energy. Staying true to Josh’s food philosophy, this produce-driven menu is designed to let the freshness and flavor of the ingredients shine while incorporating brasserie classics like bone-in scotch fillet.
Also in November Emett released Cut, his first cookbook which reflects his zero waste philosophy. Despite Josh’s impressive background as a Michelin-starred chef, his cookbook is imbedded with a relaxed elegance which any cook will be able to achieve. Cut is divided by duck, chicken, lamb, beef, quail rabbit, pork, veal and venison as well as a specific section dedicated to pies and with dramatic food photography by Kieran Scott, this spectacular hardback cookbook is one to be truly treasured.
In late November 2013, Josh opened his second restaurant in Queenstown with Fleur Caulton, Madam Woo. Since its grand opening, this fun, modern and edgy Asian inspired restaurant has received great reviews both domestically and internationally. The menu has been carefully crafted by Josh and his protégé, Jane Leong and focuses on fresh Asian food with a Chinese-Malaysian flavor.
In early 2014 the 5th season of MasterChef New Zealand aired on TV One and unlike previous MasterChef series around the world, this series was based around pairs of contestants. Of course, in true MasterChef style, the season concluded in a nail-biting finale with sisters Kasey and Karena Bird being crowned as the winners of NZ MasterChef.
Also in 2014, Josh launched his new business Master Match, an interactive food and wine matching website. Josh has selected some of New Zealand’s best wines and created a recipe that is matched specifically to each wine. Consumers can scan a QR code sticker on bottles of wine bearing the Josh Emett Master Match label, allowing them to instantly access the matched recipe and the list of ingredients all while standing in the supermarket.
This world first was designed to enhance people’s wines experience and create a new platform for wineries to speak to their customers and bring their brands to life through food and wine pairing.
Rounding out a busy year, Josh launched his second book, Josh’s Backyard BBQ. With tips on how to barbecue successfully plus an extensive range of classic recipes, this is the go-to barbecue book for everyone.
The recipes cover everything from cooking the perfect steak, tasty lamb chops and chicken wings through to whole stuffed fish, chilli prawns, satays, sliders, salads and vegetables
With a lovely light summer feel and tasty recipes this book will be used in homes around the country at barbecue time and is also a stunning gift with its gorgeous hardback package.
In July 2015, Josh brought his praised Queenstown eatery Madam Woo and it’s Malaysian influenced cuisine to Takapuna, Auckland.
Also in July, Josh has returned to our television screens as a Masterchef judge for Season 6.
Spread the word!