As head chef at a new restaurant in a new hotel, Scott Gaskin has his hands full. Beast & Butterflies, the flagship dining option at Auckland’s M Social hotel, has been on the receiving end of rave reviews, thanks in no small part to Gaskin’s hard work, commitment and creativity – developed over 20 years as a chef.

“There is a lot of passion, teamwork and fun in Beast & Butterflies kitchen,” he told Restaurant & Café. “If you walk through the restaurant you will see the chefs concentrating on service and on the other hand smiling and laughing between services. We have a great team.”

As a young chef, Gaskin tried to soak up as much as possible. One dish in particular was a revelation – “I would have to say a dish from great friend, squab terrine coated with pistachio nuts, frisee salad of glazed turnips and cantaloupe, toasted brioche and honey vinaigrette.” Since those early days his tastes have changed, from heavy and rich food to things a bit more light and fresh. Now his signature dish a kingfish ceviche with coconut, basil and sriracha oil, a dish he will present at the Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets at this year’s Taste of Auckland.

Part of Beast & Butterflies’ appeal comes from Gaskin’s reluctance to follow popular trends. “Pickling and fermenting has been playing a large part with many menus now, but sometimes it is good to look what everyone else is not using and champion that.”

Moving through spring into summer, Gaskin and the B&B team will be taking full advantage of the berries and stonefruit, as well as the abundance of tomatoes and all the festive season produce.