Cottage Like a Kiwi

Globetrotting Chef Scott has spent years cooking, sipping and cottaging in New Zealand. Now living in Toronto, he still waxes poetic on the wine and food of the island nation.


LCBO: You’re originally from the Canadian Maritimes, but you moved to New Zealand to work as a celebrity chef. What was the draw?

Chef Scott Savoie: I had just turned 40 and I was on the brink of a mid-life crisis. I was approached by a gentleman from the UK who had bought a famous fishing lodge in small-town New Zealand. We chatted and emailed and he told me stories of how beautiful it was there. It all sounded so romantic; next thing you know I was on a plane. 


LCBO: You became quite an expert down there, cooking the country’s famed seafood, lamb and more. What was that like?

CSS: It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had as a chef. Farm-to-table cooking was not a choice but a way of life. Because New Zealand is essentially two islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you use what’s available locally before thinking of importing anything. And being surrounded by water makes for especially fresh and tasty seafood. 


LCBO: Kiwis love to cottage, like us. Who knew?

CSS: Yes, one of the things that surprised me most about New Zealand was how similar it is to Canada in some ways. They don’t really call it a cottage though. They call it a “bach,” but pronounced “batch” (originally short for bachelor pad). It’s usually a small beach house located on or near the water. Nothing fancy; a true cottage. 


LCBO: You must be the superstar among your friends when it comes to cottage weekends. What are some of your go-to meals?

CSS: Anything I can cook over an open fire. Lamb is one of my all-time favourite meats, so to grill some chops or lamb patties over an open flame is always a treat.


 LCBO: New Zealand is renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc. You must have sampled a few. 

CSS: My love affair with this grape blossomed during my time in New Zealand, where the Sauvignon Blanc tends be very crisp and full-flavoured. Every time I close my eyes and raise a glass to my nose I’m transported back: I swear I can feel the warm sunshine, smell the ocean breeze blowing off the Pacific and the fresh cut grass of the rolling hills.




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