Continental Dishes Up Culinary Innovation
Two well-known hospitality brands have teamed up in what might be termed ‘a meeting of minds’ to launch a cuisine ethos that benefits both diners and planet, in a re-opening Christchurch restaurant.
A signature Heritage Raw Breakfast Bar is one of the innovative options available from this week to inner city dwellers and workers when Heritage Christchurch and food specialist Continental join forces in Maddison’s Restaurant in the Old Government Building, Cathedral Square.
“The restaurant represents particular philosophies that we share with the Heritage in terms of what we want to make available to diners now and in the future,” says Continental managing director Greg Ward.
“We are particularly excited about the Raw Breakfast option, which has been rolled out across Heritage Hotels, but is available to everyone, not just the hotel’s guests.”
Based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods such as fresh and dried fruit, vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains and seaweed, anything heated is done so below 41 degrees Celsius as it is believed cooking above this temperature destroys enzymes in food that assist in the digestion and absorption of food.
A number of techniques such as preserving, pickling, compression, sous vide, dehydration and soaking are employed, only virgin plant oils are used, and raw agave nectar, lucuma and coconut nectar replace sugar. Raw coconut aminos are used instead of soy and the kitchen team will sprout its own grains and seeds.
The lunch and dinner menus will also incorporate dishes using many of the unprocessed elements and ingredients with specific procedures followed for cooking, storing and presenting food to ensure maximum nutritional benefit.
Named after the original architect of OGB, Joseph Clarkson Maddison (who also designed Fendalton’s Mona Vale Homestead), this is the first time since the Canterbury quakes that Maddison’s has been fully operational as a restaurant.
Resident manager of Heritage Christchurch, Ana Vivas, says Heritage is delighted to welcome such a respected culinary partner to Maddison’s Restaurant and Bar.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in when the time would be right for Maddison’s to be reopened for a full dining service. The time has arrived and it will be a great addition for our guests and a popular dining destination for visitors and locals.”
Continental executive chef Simo Abbari has assembled a young but highly qualified and passionate team for the Maddison’s kitchen.
“Working in Maddison’s kitchen is not just about cooking food; serving in the restaurant is not just about carrying a plate. All the team understand and share our ethos of delivering food that is the best it can be for us, with maximum positive impact for our bodies and our community, and minimum negative impact on the planet’s resources. It’s based on having respect for everything we interact with, be it our body or our planet. The team has to be totally on board with that, and able to impart it to our diners.
“If you haven’t heard of de-activated nuts, they’ll still taste good to you. If you have heard of them, you’ll have that extra satisfaction of finding such things incorporated into a restaurant menu.
“Our vision for this restaurant with its location and gracious style, is to bring our customers closer to Continental’s food: come and sample who we are and what we have on offer.”
Greg Ward says when Continental started talking with the Heritage team it became quickly apparent that their food philosophies were very closely aligned.
“The Heritage’s Good Food Project follows six commitments around tasty yet nutritious food, using locally sourced, sustainable products. The menus at Maddison’s contain elements of Heritage menus – our senior chefs recently spent time in Auckland with the Heritage’s Executive Chef – but we also have a pretty open brief to offer menus unique to this property.”
Another aspect about the partnership that greatly appealed was the Heritage’s commitment to serving people with special dietary requirements, said Ward. In 2014 Continental launched ALFF (Allergy Free Foods Ltd) which involved overhauling a production kitchen to ensure it was 100% gluten free.
“We produce a wide range of tasty and nutritious gluten, dairy and egg free options. Chef Simo has a particular passion for accommodating special dietary requirements, which has really helped the momentum develop for this non-allergen food range. Accommodating dietary restrictions is also part of the Heritage’s cuisine goals.”
For Continental the partnership made sense on a number of levels, Ward said.
“Obviously, first and foremost we wanted to have a showcase for our capabilities both as restaurateurs and as caterers – be it a simple breakfast, a business lunch, an elegant dinner for two or a special occasion for 750 off-site.
“But additionally, from a business point of view, we’ve been looking for a central Christchurch base for some years to logistically complement our production centre in Rangiora.
“Our Maddison’s-dedicated team – lead by chefs Ryan Henley and Scott Gibb – will also be able to supply food for the Restaurant on the Christchurch Tram (another Continental-managed restaurant) as well as service out-catering clients.”
Maddison’s Restaurant is open daily from 6 am, Heritage Christchurch, 28 Cathedral Square.
For information and bookings call +64 3 983 4800