In my kitchen with… Outward Bound’s Marcel Rood

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Based in Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds, the iconic organization Outward Bound shows people their full potential through challenges and outdoor adventures. And at the end of an active day, Chef Marcel Rood is there to fill all those hungry bellies.

“Each meal enjoyed in the Outward Bound Dining Hall is blessed with a karakia led by a different watch – a group of 14 students – each time,” says Rood. “The menu for each evening meal in the dining hall is presented and explained by me or the Sous Chef. Students often tell us that our menus and meal times are a highlight of their Outward Bound experience.”

Recently, Marcel and the Outward Bound restoration team published a Outward Bound Cookbook featuring 68 recipes from Outward Bound’s most popular student meals. It’s available to purchase for $20, and all proceeds from the book go towards helping New Zealanders unlock their potential at Outward Bound. Here, Marcel gives us a glimpse of his cooking habits.

My kitchen at home is… cozy and welcoming. I snagged my great-great-grandfather’s copper cake pans from our family bakery in the Netherlands, which I still use on special occasions.

The changes I would make to make this my dream kitchen are… none – this is my perfect three-point kitchen. It’s small and efficient and I love it.

The items you will always find in my fridge are… old-fashioned mustard, homemade aioli and fresh vegetables.

Some of my pantry essentials are… yellow curry powder (Historically the Netherlands had a strong spice trade and I grew up very close to the spice warehouses) soy sauce, balsamic and a selection of lovely oils.

My favorite ingredient for cooking is… It must be garlic – it enhances the flavor and can turn anything from boring to delicious.

The kind of food I like to make the most is… Growing up above our family bakery, I still love baking bread. When I run the kitchen at Outward Bound, I love seeing the smiles on students’ faces when they see fresh breads coming out of the oven.

My favorite meal in an emergency is… hutspot– it is a Dutch dish of potatoes, carrots and onions. It goes with everything and is really delicious. Also being Dutch, these are three of the cheapest ingredients!

If friends drop by unannounced, I do… “clean the fridge” soup, topped with aioli and herbs from my garden. Everyone still thinks I went to great lengths, but this is a really good (and quick) way to use up aging vegetables.

My favorite drink is… red wine, mostly pinot noir and organic if I’m lucky. Marlborough’s organic Darling wines are my favorite.

Something unexpected that I do from scratch is… I make most things from scratch, but my curry pastes are pretty popular.

I cook at home… most of the time, unless my partner, Helen, is doing a kiwi roast. I love to cook in my kitchen.

The kitchen gadget that everyone should own is… a mortar and pestle. You can create some awesome flavors if you take your time. Also my microblade – lemon zest is a good friend in the kitchen.

My culinary philosophy is… hot plates, dim lights, good music, good company and no cell phones. When I work in the kitchen at Outward Bound, I try to teach students to appreciate their whanau and their friends and to spend time sitting around a table talking about their day. And if your family cooks for you, thank them and show your appreciation.

Buy the Outward Bound Cookbook here.

The Outward Bound cookbook by Marcel Rood.  Photo / Provided
The Outward Bound cookbook by Marcel Rood. Photo / Provided


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