Royal honour on the menu

Auckland Now NZ

Auckland City Harbour News

Royal honour on the menu

KELSEY FLETCHER

7064505.jpgAward-winning food and travel presenter Peta Mathias thought she was too unconventional to be honoured by the state.

But a distinguished career in television and as a culinary author has proved to be the golden ticket for making the Queen’s Birthday and Diamond Jubilee 2012 New Zealand Royal honours list.

The Grey Lynn resident has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services as an author and television presenter.

Ms Mathias is well-known for presenting travel shows Taste of New Zealand, Taste Takes Off and A Taste of Home.

She has also produced eight award-winning gastronomic travel books about Morocco, France, New Zealand, Ireland and Vietnam.

Ms Mathias was in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco when she found out about the award.

“A letter had been sent to my home in Auckland which I hadn’t been told of,” she says. “I was in Morocco and got the email by chance on my iPhone.

“I assumed it had been sent to me by mistake so I went and found a computer to check.

“Sure enough it was me and my reaction was surprise as I didn’t think I was the sort of person who would be honoured by the state – too unconventional.”

Because of the remote region Ms Mathias was staying in, she says it was difficult for her to accept the award.

“I had to find a printer and a scanner in the mountains to fill in the acceptance form, which was quite a challenge,” she says. “At one stage, I considered scanning it with my iPhone or just standing on a mountaintop and yelling.”

Although Ms Mathias doesn’t know who nominated her, she is modest about receiving the honour.

“I will have to get a new dress, drink champagne and keep working. An award like this tells you you are on the right path, which is humbling,” she says.

“It will be other people who have to make changes as they will now have to fall to their knees when they come across me.

“However, there are many more in my field who deserve this honour more than me – we have so many good chefs and writers in New Zealand.”

Being recognised is a pat on the back for all the hard work Ms Mathias has dedicated herself to over the years.

“Personally it means that the people who kindly went to the trouble to nominate me, see in me something I don’t see in myself,” she says. “I would think anyone who is acknowledged in this way just sees their work as a job they love and try to do well at.”

Ms Mathias says her career happened by chance and she is amazed it has been so well received.

“I wrote my first book on my life as a cook in Paris, thinking it would be the only book I would write. I did my first few series on television thinking it might last a few seasons,” she says.

“I am astounded that the personality I was marginalised for as a child has somehow managed to channel itself into something constructive.”

– © Fairfax NZ News

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Posted on June 8, 2012, in Morocco News, Visit Morocco and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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