Meet the Chef: Robert Hope-Ede, Onemata

Throughout Robert Hope-Ede’s 20 years as a professional chef, he has gained a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership skills across all roles, disciplines and sections of the kitchen.

Starting his career on the North Shore of Auckland, Hope-Ede was lucky to work with the team at Sausalito and then at 8.2. He found his place at Euro, an institute of the Auckland dining scene, where he stayed for over eight years as the Pastry Chef. At Euro, Hope-Ede worked closely with Simon Gault who generously shared his wealth of knowledge. 

“Through my experiences to date I have enjoyed working with many high calibre chefs over numerous jobs, events and projects, who have instilled a strong work ethic and passion for only delivering the best, which I now transfer to all who work alongside me.”

Keeping with Gault, Hope-Ede spent some time at Auckland’s Jervois Steak House and helped him open Giraffe in the Viaduct. It was when this restaurant closed that Hope-Ede was keen to find a new challenge and jumped at the opportunity to work with the brand new Park Hyatt Auckland.

Hope-Ede is Head Chef at Park Hyatt’s Onemata. A self-motivated chef, who has dedicated his life and career to the pursuit of excellence in his profession, he is always seeking opportunities to learn and cultivate his passion for all things food and hospitality.

“I have an insatiable desire for constant growth and improvement in all aspects of running a successful kitchen; profitability, cooking techniques, staff training, restaurant ambience, and personal development.”

Recently, Hope-Ede added a five course Chef’s menu to the offering at Onemata Restaurant, enabling the team to come up with new creative and innovative dishes that engage both staff and guests. 

His personal food philosophy is to create dishes that are accessible, understandable and most importantly, memorable - “from the first bite to the last”.

Taking inspiration from local produce and producers who are equally passionate, Hope-Ede pays attention to quality, affordability and practicality.

“I feel it is an important part of a chef’s job to educate and collaborate.”

His favourite part of working in hospitality is the camaraderie - meeting friends who ultimately become family. Hope-Ede met his wife working in hospitality, who luckily understands the at-times demanding nature of the job. In his short time so far at Onemata and the Park Hyatt Auckland, he has felt welcomed as part of the Onemata family. 

Hope-Ede started with Onemata just as the country entered a Level 4 lockdown. Due to the lockdown restrictions, staff were not able to be onsite and the restaurant was unoperational. Challenges included meeting and motivating his new team, and creating a menu while not entirely familiar with his surroundings. The chef relied on his extensive cookbook collection for inspiration, trialling dishes on his wife at home. 

Due to the pandemic restrictions, staffing levels across hospitality in New Zealand are in crisis and good chefs are in high demand. Hope-Ede has found it difficult to staff a high-level full kitchen team with a lack of skilled international chefs entering the country, bringing their own personality and signature dishes. 

Though not being the most travelled of chefs himself, Hope-Ede notes his fortune in his opportunities to have worked alongside chefs from many different backgrounds and cultures. 

“Kitchens in New Zealand are a multicultural melting pot - which is what places our dining scene up there on the world stage.”

With borders open, this shortage may shift soon - being hopeful, as a wave of international visitors is set to arrive. Hope-Ede sees the host of opportunities available in hospitality for those willing to put in the hard yards. 

He is looking forward to growing Onemata into a destination restaurant for both local and international guests, continuing to showcase the best produce and suppliers from the place he is proud to call home. 

“We need to step up and ensure we produce beautiful Kiwi kai to put Aotearoa on the culinary map!”