The unstoppable talent of Sergio Maglione returns to Taste of Auckland in partnership with Electrolux for 2016. Exuding the ethos of fresh and simple, his award-winning Ponsonby restaurant, Farina, has won hearts and minds of critics, locals, and long distance admirers alike.
Finding inspiration in the dreams Sergio brought with him to New Zealand as a young, fresh faced pizza chef from Napoli, the renowned Italian restauranter began building his Antipodean reputation with Toto’s Restaurant (infamous for its spectacular metre-long pizzas), before moving on to gorgeous, exhilaratingly simple and genuine Italian fare with Farina. In his thick, warm Italian accent, Sergio explains he’s eyeing a third consecutive Best in Taste gold.
The secret to knocking it out the park every single time, he explains, is “[to] never pre-plan, I always wait until judging day and choose a dish based on what would suit the weather and environment best on that particular day.” The ingredients are crucial, as is the passion with which the dish is created, “A winning dish is always simple, tasty, made from scratch and prepared with an element of spontaneity.”
But it’s more than the chance at a third lap of victory that’s brought the bold Italian back to Taste of Auckland with his incredible team. It’s the livewire thrill of performing and creating for New Zealand’s largest community of foodies, “I love the atmosphere at Taste of Auckland, cooking in front of a big crowd is always exciting and as a chef, I feed off their energy.”
Sergio’s currently designing and tasting through innumerable iterations of a delicious menu created exclusively for Taste of Auckland, playing with sumptuous Italian flavours, incredible cured meats, and fresh New Zealand produce. It’s an unmatched passion that’s found him on the top of the podium at Taste of Auckland 2014 and 2015 respectively, a bellowing challenge to the other celebrated restaurants curated and selected to showcase at Taste of Auckland.
But, Sergio tells us, winning gold is far from the biggest motivator, “The best part is being able to make people happy with my dishes.” It’s all for the love of food.