Monique Fiso returned to New Zealand full-time to create the pop up dining series Hiakai. Using traditional Māori cooking techniques and ingredients, in combination with her Michelin star training, she has taken Māori cuisine to a new level of sophistication, and pushed it into the next chapter in its food story. Monique is going to take the humble kūmara and turn it into something truly delicious, from kūmara gnocchi to taking your hangi to the next level, she'll show you how to garnish it and serve with just as tasty sides.
From an after school job as a sandwich hand at the tender age of 14, to the Michelin starred kitchens of New York City. Monique Fiso always wanted to be a chef. Fiso completed her studies at the Wellington Institute of Technology and while still in school talked her way into her first fine dining job working for Chef Martin Bosley at the eponymous Martin Bosley at the Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
Working full time while studying paid off and Fiso finished top of her class. With a hunger for adventure and a desire for a challenge Fiso booked a ticket to New York City, home of some of the world’s best restaurants.
After dropping her bags at a hostel, Fiso headed for Michelin starred PUBLIC restaurant and was immediately put to work. Over the next seven years, Fiso honed her skills as a sous chef in some of New York City's top kitchens - The Musket Room, PUBLIC Restaurant, A Voce, Saxon+Parole, Double Crown, to name a few.
In 2016 she returned to New Zealand full time and began the pop up dining series, Hiakai. Using traditional Māori cooking techniques and ingredients in combination with her Michelin star training, Fiso has taken Māori cuisine to a whole new level of sophistication and pushed it into the next chapter in its food story. Since arriving back in New Zealand, Monique has also become a regular contributor to MiNDFOOD Magazine, Māori Television and Morena on TVNZ1.