Raymond van Rijk

Chef

Summer: long hot evenings, sandy holidays, burnt chops on the BBQ… Not any more! BBQ guru Raymond van Rijk is on a mission to change the way New Zealanders approach BBQing.

Inspired by one burnt sausage too many, Raymond, a chef and foodie from way back, has developed a highly successful BBQ course which has had the punters in Hawke’s Bay and beyond brushing up on their summer cuisine skills and producing food that leaves their friends and families hanging out for more.

Resident in New Zealand for over 30 years, Dutch Indonesian Raymond van Rijk’s BBQ Gourmet courses celebrate the social side of BBQing, while adding a touch of culinary class.

From pork loin stuffed with blue cheese and chilli pears to ‘beer can chicken’, the courses have for the past three years expanded the culinary horizons of thousands of erstwhile sausage grillers.

Raymond’s approach is not about providing an entertaining talk and handing out recipe cards.

“I want people to learn how to get the best from their BBQ, and from the amazing array of freshly available local ingredients that we have access to here in New Zealand. People have a great time on the courses, and they also go away with the skills they need to be confident and creative in their cooking.

“If you understand your ingredients – how to introduce flavour, how to assess freshness, what works well together – together with when to use particular cooking techniques such as direct versus indirect grilling, that’s when you can really have fun.”

The BBQ Gourmet courses enormously popular in Hawke’s Bay, Auckland and others parts of New Zealand have also proved successful as far a field as the Netherlands and The UK where Raymond has spent the last eight summers – the off-season here in the southern hemisphere – teaching his bbq skills and promoting New Zealand products.

“BBQ cuisine is perfect for New Zealand,” says Raymond. “Our climate, our fresh produce, the enthusiastic, unpretentious kiwi attitude: they all add up to the essential raw ingredients for the perfect BBQ.”

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