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New Zealand

Oamaru (South Island)

Welcome to our place!

New York City to New Zealand: after 25 years living and working all over the world as a development and health consultant I decided to follow my passion.

With my partner I became the new chef-owner of Pen-y-bryn Lodge, a heritage luxury lodge in Oamaru, New Zealand. Currently Chancelier of Bailliage of New Zealand my name is James Glucksman.

Once larger than Los Angeles, with more banks (and taverns) than any other town in the southern hemisphere, Oamaru only came to my notice in 2009. Known by many New Zealanders as the source of the country’s best potatoes, it also boasts some of the most impressive historic architecture in the country, the largest mainland colony of blue penguins in the world, and a thriving arts scene.

Oamaru is extremely proud of its opera house. A gem, which in March 2013 hosted Dame Kiri Te Kanawa for her sole NZ concert of the year.

Potentially of more interest to Chaîne members, we have New Zealand’s newest wine appellation, producing award-winning Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling. The country’s most acclaimed cheese maker, and countless other outstanding food producers and fine restaurants add to the gems to be found in Oamaru.

Unaware of all of these exceptional features in January 2009 when I first laid eyes on Pen-y-bryn. This 19th century mansion is the largest single-storey wooden dwelling in Australasia. For more than a decade I had been looking for the perfect place to set up a restaurant and inn. After considering many places around the world including Umbria, the Dordogne, the Western Cape of South Africa I knew I had found the perfect spot - Pen-y-bryn, Oamaru.

In the three years since moving here I have become a true champion of this small town on New Zealand’s South Island. Oamaru’s stature as a destination for people seeking that rare combination of nature, history, art, culture and gustatory treats is growing in leaps and bounds.

Though not a professionally-trained chef, I have spent countless hours with chefs around the world learning their techniques and recipes. Once back home I delighted in replicating those dishes for friends. Now I prepare all the meals for our lodge guests, offering table d’hôte menus using produce from our garden and sustainable meats from local farms.

We pride ourselves on serving lodge-made breads, sausages, jams and even liqueurs (our Périgord-style walnut wine is especially popular). We pride ourselves on experimenting with new ways of using the amazing ingredients that New Zealand produces as a matter of course.

As Chancelier of the Bailliage of New Zealand I hope to see la Chaîne expand its activities in the country and reveal more of New Zealand’s world-renowned culinary delights – in Oamaru and throughout the country – to visitors from far and wide.