Spotlight on Muse Eatery & Bar's Samuel North
For someone who dropped out of school at 16 and admittedly "fell into cooking", Samuel North has certainly landed on his feet. The 20-something year old is the executive chef and owner of Muse Eatery and Bar, a swish inner city restaurant with top notch food and an easy-going vibe.
Chef Samuel is a Welly On a Plate veteran. He has taken part in the festival since its early days, and has collected a swag of trophies along the way. This year, Samuel and his team at Muse have decided to up the ante with their festival offering. They'll be dishing up a unique Dine Wellington menu, a drool-worthy burger, as well as two events which showcase a couple of firm Kiwi faves: meat and booze.
"We wanted to do something a bit out-of-the-ordinary this year. Our Dine menu features some unexpected twists on well-known dishes, and our events will be really interactive, allowing diners to chat with chefs, wine makers and brewers. It's going to be a great experience." Here's a taste of what Samuel and his team have in store at this year's festival:
We're pretty lucky that here in Wellington, we're practically swimming in really good beer and really good wine (imagine that?!). Muse's event Grape vs Grain puts our local drops at centre stage, and celebrates the beautiful union of food and drink. Diners will enjoy four favourite Muse dishes, each paired with a wine and a beer. It's then up to the discerning diners to decide which is the better match - the grape or the grain. The wine matches will be provided by Wairarapa darling Nga Waka Winery, with the brews sourced from new kids on the block, Fortune Favours. Wine maker Roger Parkinson and brewer Shannon Thorpe will be on hand to talk about their craft, and to hear diners' views on what makes the perfect match.
They might say you shouldn't mix the grape and the grain, but we think we can make an exception for this one.
A meat feat
Vegetarians, look away; Muse's Beat the Beast pits man (and woman) against beef in the ultimate spin on steak night. Held over three nights, diners will be challenged to devour a whopping 1kg of steak over the course of the evening. Woah. But to make it a tad easier to digest, the meat feast will be served up in three courses, each featuring a different cut of PrimeStar(R) beef (scotch fillet, sirloin and eye fillet), and matched with a range of tasty sides, sauces and drinks.
Samuel will prepare the cuts in front of diners and talk through the various cooking styles. "We want people to enjoy the different steaks over the 2- 3 hours and appreciate the different flavours and cooking styles we will be using." Diners who can polish off the entire 1kg of beef will be rewarded with a nifty certificate.
We reckon it'll be a huge missed-steak to skip this event.
Muse's Dine Wellington offering this year is chock-a-block with interesting twists on familiar dishes. From their festival dish – a traditional Italian gnocchi with a Kiwi spin - to a sophisticated version of a boil-up, and an homage to the humble cottage pie, Muse's menu promises to tickle our taste buds with some surprising reinventions on dishes we all know and love.
After their debut burger went bananas in 2016, Samuel has once again heroed Wagyu beef in their 2017 entry, The Mac Muse. "Our burger this year is going to be pretty insane. We've got a Wagyu patty, streaky bacon, smothered in a creamy mac 'n' cheese sauce in a brioche bun. It's going to be very rich and very delicious". I think you may be right, Mr North.