Finalist, Premier Selection Awards 2016

Tu was born in Christchurch and is of Scottish and Maori decent. His family moved north when he was 10 years old and he grew up in the upper North Island. He became interested in cooking and food at a young age, inspired by his mother who was a very good cook.

I have used the Silver Fern Farms beef cheek for this dish and have found it to be of good, consistent quality.

Upon leaving school he started out as a kitchen hand and very quickly moved up 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 Tu also embarked on his qualifications and he completed a Culinary Arts Course at AUT's School of Hospitality & Tourism. As a young chef he also competed in the New Zealand Culinary Fare and won "Nga Kai A Te Maori”.

Tu 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 took up the role as Head chef at Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill.

In June 2015 Tu cooked alongside fellow chef, Nancye Pirini, to prepare The “Long Hakari”, a three-course Maori-inspired feast for Matariki, held at the Auckland Museum.

Tu took up his role at White + Wong's in December 2015. He says his style of cuisine is influenced by his work experience and mentors like Peter Gordon. “I learnt so much from him,” says Tu. “Especially how to use different flavour combinations.”

He describes his style of food as fresh, simple, not overly complicated but well-balanced.