My Christmas: Jackie Grant, co-owner of the Hip Group

One of our favourite restaurateurs shares her plans for the festive season.

Jackie Grant of the Hip Group. Picture / Babiche Martens.

The big day... Christmas lunch and dinner have always been so special to us. That is why we choose both Christmas and Boxing Day to close the cafes and restaurant. We open only the stores in the morning on Christmas Day so we and our regulars can get that espresso fix and pick up treats. Then it's off to my parents for Christmas lunch.

On the table... My family shares a love of food and wine and, most importantly, sharing time together. My sister, Tracy, and brother-in-law, David, are the key organisers this year, and it is a delight the detail they place on getting every bit right. All I have to do is match the bubbles with the petite prawn sandwiches that are served while we open pressies, then it's a turkey and summer greens from my pa's gardens, and first of the season potatoes from the farm.

A Hip summer... Hip is in full swing so the holiday period is short and sweet. The teamwork over this time is exceptional. We all spend the entire year preparing for it.

Having a few dinners after our shifts together to celebrate or just relaxing and sharing great food, beer and wine together is a highlight for me.

The seasonal menu... I love nothing more than relaxing and cooking simple, fresh food with friends and family, lighting the wood-fired oven or the Big Green Egg to cook with. I can never get enough of tomatoes, avocados, berries and stone fruits. Artichokes and corn, I adore too.

Watching everything grow and change is the most wonderful thing. Being able to take everything from the garden at the farm adds a wonderful element to the plated ingredients. Eating seafood is pretty important to me when celebrating summer. Then something sweet at the end - brulee, tiramisu or just wonderful clean and fresh gelato and sorbet with summer fruits.


• The Hip Group owns Takapuna Beach Cafe & Store, Ortolana, St Heliers Bistro & Cafe, Kohi Corner, Milse, Rosie Cafe, Matua Road Farm, Provenance Eatery & Store, Richmond Road Cafe, The Store at Britomart and Waihi Beach Hotel Eatery and Store.


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