Words With Friends: Jo Pearson

Jo Pearson, Executive Chef of Hipgroup, spearheads the group’s sustainable stance on dining – we chat to her and find out more.

WHAT IS YOUR NAME AND ROLE?

Jo Pearson, Group Executive Chef at Hipgroup.

WHAT PHILOSOPHY DO YOU WORK AND/OR LIVE BY?

That by respecting and caring for the people in our lives and businesses they will do the same in return.

CAN YOU TELL US A SUSTAINABILITY FACT THAT WILL BLOW US AWAY?

I don’t think there is one singular fact that would blow you away. We all know how to be sustainable, or have the resources to be sustainable – respect our food sources by not being wasteful (not supporting fisheries that discard by-catch or damaged fish, or produce wastage because of TAG grading standards), buy ingredients to create food instead of using food that is made of ingredients, compost, recycle, eat less meat, don’t use pollutants or litter, eat seasonally NZ-grown produce to minimise carbon footprints, repurpose waste products, use our private and public green spaces to produce food not ornamental plants or lawn, grow our own food or source from local independent suppliers not conglomerates of processed food supply.

WHAT’S ONE SUSTAINABLE PRACTICE ANYONE COULD ADOPT WITH EASE?

Eat food that is in season and locally grown – at home and when dining.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 15-YEAR-OLD SELF A PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Pay attention to your parents – they are teaching you how to grow food, look after the land, preserve foods that are in season and cook food that has no numbers as ingredients. This will be your passion for the rest of your life.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK IN THREE WORDS?

Humble, unpretentious and relaxed.

WHAT CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT?

Engaging relationships with passionate, like-minded people that challenge me.

WHAT WAS THE LAST GREAT MOVIE YOU WATCHED OR BOOK YOU READ?

Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton – a cookbook that reflects her upbringing and life. The environment she has created in her restaurant and her no-waste approach to food is inspiring. 

CAN YOU NAME A PERSON WHO’S INFLUENCED YOU IN SOME WAY, WHO WE SHOULD LOOK UP?

The people who have influenced me most are my family and my work family. I am influenced and challenged daily by the people in my life, not by an idolised stranger.

AMANO’S SUSTAINABLE LUNCH

Tongue-to-tail and peel-to-pith – get a taste of Amano’s creative and delicious approach to zero-waste dining at the ‘Seasons, Sustainability and Minimal Waste Lunch’ on Wednesday 20 September.

As part of Better September, the team at Amano will present an exclusive five-course lunch which showcases the restaurant’s ethical ethos. Head Chef Andrew Hanson and Executive Chef Jo Pearson have spearheaded the Italian-inspired menu with an unprecedented focus on provenance.

To find out more and to book tickets go here.