Jiwon Do is the executive chef of QT Wellington. He has won multiple awards in New Zealand and Korea and trained as World Skills Olympic in Culinary Arts player, representing Korea, when he worked in Seoul for the Hilton Hotel Group.
There's no better way to start the day than with breakfast at Wellington's surf mecca Lyall Bay. Maranui Cafe is so popular that you may have to wait a while – trust me, it's worth it. My go-to here is Queen Sally's Vegan Bliss Bowl – a delicious, healthy meal featuring house-made falafel and preserved lemon and turmeric quinoa, and topped with hummus, sauerkraut, harissa and savoury granola. This one dish has so many components – all made in-house – and I love how colourful and tasty it is. See maranuicafe.co.nz
Come lunchtime, my mind starts drifting to Charley Noble and its eponymous burger. This inner-city eatery is like QT Wellington's French fine dining restaurant Hippopotamus in that it believes in showcasing local ingredients, but it differs in that the food here is all wood-fired. In fact, you can sit and watch the chefs cook your meal over the restaurant's fire pits. The burger here is worth revisiting time and time again, and comes with Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, pickles and fries.See charleynoble.co.nz
Okay I may be biased, but I'm not alone in saying Le Chevreuil Sauvage, the signature dish at Hippopotamus, is one of the finest venison dishes in the city. Think a pretty serving of venison short loin cooked at 46C and served with horopito (a native New Zealand plant), kelp, wild spinach, wood-ear mushroom, juniper berry jus, freeze-dried raspberries, pink pepper meringue, dried figs and Gipsy bacon. You can try a smaller version of it paired with our Forager's Tonic cocktail during this year's Wellington on a Plate festival in August. See qthotelsandresorts.com/wellington
After dinner, head down to the ground floor of QT Wellington and visit our Asian-inspired eating house and bar Hot Sauce for one of its signature cocktails. The "5 Spice Clover" is a particular favourite – rosemary-infused sake, lemon juice, five spice syrup, raspberry, cranberry juice and a dash of egg white to give it a light and creamy finish.
LATE NIGHT SNACK
Cocktails can make me peckish so I've got one last stop on my hit list before heading home to bed – The Library bar on Courtenay Place for a serving of its famous "Doughnut Fix". We're talking fairy floss, and a choice of chocolate fudge, peanut butter dulce de leche or raspberry jam. Or if you're feeling particularly decadent, a mix of all three. See thelibrary.co.nz
Jiwon Do is collaborating with Bob Piechniczek, Head Chef of QT Melbourne's Pascale Bar & Grill, for Foragers Feast at this year's Wellington on a Plate food festival. The two-day event, on August 14 and 15, will see the pair forage for native ingredients around Wellington then prepare three courses. See qthotelsandresorts.com/wellington