Born in Christchurch from Scottish and Maori decent, Tu Fearn moved to the upper north Island with his family when he was ten and has been interested in cooking and food from a young age. After leaving school, Fearn started out as a kitchen hand and quickly moved through the ranks. Within two years, he was working full time as a breakfast cook and he started his first restaurant job in 2004. At this time Fearn also embarked on his qualifications and he completed a Culinary Arts Course at AUT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism. As a young chef he also competed in the New Zealand Culinary Fare and won ‘Nga Kai A Te Maori’.

Since then he has worked in some of Auckland’s top restaurants including Dine by Peter Gordon, The Grill by Sean Connolly, Bellotta, Blue Breeze Inn and MooChowChow. In 2011, Fearn took up the role as head chef at Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill. In December last year, Fearn took up his role at White + Wong’s and said his style of cuisine is influenced by his work experience and mentors like Peter Gordon. “I learnt so much from him, especially how to use different flavour combinations,” said Fearn. His dish for the awards is a very well conceived dish that treated the beef in a traditional Chinese manner of being cooked in a master stock that imparted subtle flavours of star anise and ginger. The dish consists of Silver Fern Farms master stock braised beef cheek, eggplant miso and burnt butter puree, wok fried mushrooms with chilli and black vinegar, choi sum and crispy tripe.