New Chef Gets Fired Up


Our new head chef David O’Leary knows what it means to take businesses to the next level, and that’s exactly what he’s planning in his first season of working at Tui Hills.

With a CV full of restaurants from around the world, and a reputation for creative menus and plating techniques, David wants to explode the myth that wedding food has to be mass-produced and boring.

“To maintain quality, we’re getting in the best organic, free range and local ingredients and getting the food in fresh just before each wedding or event. Almost everything is being prepared on site from fresh raw ingredients and we’re not cutting corners on quality for the sake of convenience.

“Too many of the hotels and venues out there doing big functions are just defrosting things. The only things coming out of our freezer will be our soon-to-be-famous Lavender Hill dessert, made of lavender, white chocolate and honey frozen parfait, and of course ice cream for the kids.”

David’s experience includes helping to build three restaurant brands from the ground up in Hong Kong and a stint at Sydney’s world-famous Victor Churchill Butchery where he once cooked for TV chef legend Anthony Bourdain.

At Tui Hills, David’s created three new menus with distinctive styles and price points, from familiar favourites in the Kiwi menu, to the Tui menu with barbecue options and the high-end Kereru menu for real foodies.

In each case he wants to see guests enjoying the food as they would a great restaurant meal. “It’s fantastic when family and friends get together at a wedding. The food can never be the absolute highlight – that’s reserved for the bride and groom, but hopefully the guests will remember they had a culinary experience, not just catering.”

To get a feel for David’s love of cooking, all you need to do is visit his Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/chefdavidoleary/, where a flair for plating creates a feast for the eyes as much as the palate.

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