Monique Fiso (Nga Rauru, Ngati Ruanui) was born and bred in Porirua. Starting with an after-school job as a sandwich hand at just 14, Fiso trained at the Wellington Institute of Technology while working the kitchen at Martin Bosley’s, before moving on to an array of renowned restaurants overseas. She returned to New Zealand in 2016 and began the pop-up dining series called Hiakai, which evolved into the Wellington-based restaurant that’s taken the New Zealand food scene by storm.
"Chef Monique Fiso is a special talent, a woman with a vision for merging ancient Maori techniques and traditions with modernist touches and a boundless imagination." — Forbes (The 10 Coolest Places to Eat in 2020).
"New Zealand’s most exciting chef . . . innovative, sophisticated, thoroughly modern cooking with indigenous ingredients at its heart." — The Spinoff.
"Hiakai aims to shine a light on Maori cuisine, proving that there’s a modern home for it in the world of fine dining." — National Geographic.
"Fiso is one of a number of chefs in the Pacific making an eloquent argument for native ingredients and cooking methods." — New York Times.
"A new perspective on traditional New Zealand food and one we can be so proud of sharing." — Stuff.
Nornie Bero is an Island girl - from the Komet Tribe of the Meriam people of Mer Island, she was raised in the Torres Strait. As a professional chef for over 20 years in Melbourne and London, Bero is passionate about sharing the food culture she grew up with on the Islands. She is the owner and executive chef of Mabu Mabu, a hospitality and food business in Melbourne that celebrates the fantastic Indigenous produce and flavours from across this big Island now known as Australia. Through her retail products and venues; Big Esso at Federation Square and Tuckshop in Yarraville, Bero is on a mission to get native herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, and sustainable meats in every Australian kitchen pantry.