Oliver Xie brings a taste of Beijing and a wealth of culinary knowledge to The Grille by Eichardt’s. Growing up in a culinary household in Beijing, Xie moved to New Zealand at just 15 years of age to study Culinary Arts at NSIA. Following that, Xie was lucky enough to work under Jake Morrissey, who had been trained by Marco Pierre White. Xie noted that this kickstarted his career, leading him into a role with Simon Gault, where he could develop his technique.

Now, at The Grille, Xie has a unique opportunity to work as a part of Eichardt’s, an internationally renowned luxury hotel. “I am excited to take The Grille to the next level, and I hope this job allows me to create a similar presence and reputation in the restaurant.”

Xie said that the natural flavours of each dish define his cuisine. “I like to let the quality of the local produce speak for itself in each meal, not over seasoning or ruining the integrity of the meat.” Currently, Xie enjoys cooking the Blue Cod, and Cardrona Lamb Shoulder featured on The Grille’s menu. “The Blue Cod is steamed, ensuring the dish keeps its natural tastes, instead of a pan-fried fish that takes on the flavours of butter or fat. The lamb is brined, marinated (in olive and rosemary), chargrilled then sous-vide for 14 hours at 73 degrees which allows the lamb to be exceptionally tender and the flavours from the chargrill give it a delicious smoky taste.” Xie noted that his time at The Grille gives him ample opportunity to combine his culinary origins from China, with his depth of knowledge from his time in New Zealand.

At the moment, culinary trends are calling for produce that accounts for its journey from source to plate. Xie noted that The Grille’s dining experience places emphasis on this, and he employs similar ideas into his cooking.

“There are a lot of foreigners in the New Zealand hospitality industry, and each person brings their own home country’s style into the kitchen. The industry is collaborative and globally inspired—from cooking techniques to menu items.” But the industry is not without its troubles. Xie noted that a continual rise in produce prices make it challenging to remain consistent with their restaurant pricing. He said that the farmlands are getting smaller and it is becoming increasingly challenging to get grass-fed animals at a reasonable price.

Over the years, Xie has noted a few developments in his cooking. “I’ve had a lot more fun in recent years, bringing my own ideas for new dishes into the kitchen but always with the same style I learned early on in my career.” He also said that he would like to continue to grow his skills in menu planning in accordance with industry trends and local market adaption. “Every day, I continue to learn techniques and grow from others around me.”