Shaun Martin has been at Table @ Nice Hotel for ten years, and as Head Chef for five of these. Before the move to New Plymouth, he worked at a number of places as a baker.

Martin was paired with Rendezvous restaurant in Palmerston North for the 2017 Plate of Origin competition for Palmerston North’s AgriWeek. The pair made a coastal spring lamb with biogreen organics, featuring Martin’s regional ‘hero ingredients’ of popcorn shoots and micro-radish.

An early inspiration for Martin was home cooked roasts at his grandparents’ house. “Everything cooked from scratch, fresh out of the garden – nothing beats it.” Martin has retained a love for the simple pleasures – his favourite dishes are Spaghetti Bolognese and risotto, and his favourite ingredient is olive oil.

Martin has trained several young chefs in his time, but is most proud of former apprentice Nicholas Han. Han went from working part-time for kitchen experience to being named NZ Apprentice of the Year and is now working at Rockpool in Melbourne, which Martin visited earlier this year as part of an 'inspiration holiday'.

Martin describes his kitchen as “fun, creative, innovative and very demanding at times” and is keen to “keep pushing the boundaries, be innovative and keep the passion flowing.”