JOSH BARLOW, Senior Sous Chef, The Grove

Senior sous chef Josh Barlow always has projects on the go, especially when it comes to cheese. He works with Calum from Sabato, and they love getting something unique made just for The Grove. “At the moment, we are getting whole milk-fed lambs every week, we break down the whole animal making sure every part of them gets used,” said Barlow.

There is always something exciting happening at The Grove according to Barlow, who works under Ben Bayly and Michael and Annette Dearth. “It’s always fast paced and busy in the kitchen, but although it is at time tough, it is extremely rewarding. It keeps you on your toes and keeps you excited about heading into work each day.”

At 20 years old, before moving to London, Barlow ate at the 3 Michelin Star Jean-Georges in New York, and despite it being very traditional and classic French cuisine it was flawless, and he knew then the level of kitchens in which he wanted to work in.

Since then Barlow has worked at Huka Lodge, Guillaume at Bennelong in Sydney, The Bath Priory, Hibiscus, Fera at Claridges which has led him to where he is now, The Grove in Auckland’s CBD.

“One of my biggest accomplishments has been competing in the San Pellegrino young chef semi-finals. It was such a great experience to be able to cook for the chief judges and spend the day with them in the kitchen. However, I cannot forget the lessons and experience I have gained through working with some world-class chefs who have taught me so much over the years.”

When it comes to ingredients, Barlow is excited by fresh seasonal ingredients and flavours they have to offer.

“I always look forward to spring. Peas, broad beans, asparagus – such exciting times, and it always seems like winter has been going on long enough! Although winter seems to drag on, I can never pass up a good lasagne, and it’s the perfect comfort food.”

For Barlow, there was no other job he wanted than to be a chef. A great influence on his career has been Simon Rogan’s approach to food. “It’s pretty special. He grows so much of his produce on a farm in the North of England. The growing is overseen by the chefs, which mean things are grown to his exact specifications. It also means he can grow ingredients which aren’t commercially available by the large vegetable suppliers.”