Hiakai the book and Monique Fiso (Photo: Amber-Jayne Bain)

Dietary Requirements: Monique Fiso on her incredible new book and the kai Māori renaissance

Summer reissue: Chef Monique Fiso joins us for a chat about Hiakai – her acclaimed Wellington restaurant, and the title of her stunning new book.

First published November 3, 2020.

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Calling Monique Fiso’s new book a cookbook doesn’t really do it justice – there’s so much more to it, tracing her personal journey and charting the history of kai Māori as well as guiding readers on how to incorporate indigenous ingredients and techniques into their own cooking.

The book is titled Hiakai, also the name of Fiso’s Wellington restaurant that was last year included in a Time magazine list of The World’s 100 Greatest Places, among many other honours. Before opening Hiakai in 2018, she worked at some of New York’s best restaurants, and recently appeared on shows like Netflix’s The Final Table and National Geographic’s Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted.

Since opening Hiakai, Fiso has been at the forefront of the revitalisation and celebration of kai Māori, and writing and researching the book allowed her to delve further into the techniques and ingredients of our indigenous culture. She joined Simon Day, Alice Neville and Sophie Gilmour on this week’s Dietary Requirements for a chat about it.

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