In my kitchen with … Marcel Rood of Outward Bound

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

“Every meal eaten in the Outward Bound dining room is blessed with a karakia driven by a different clock – a group of 14 students – every time,” explains Rood. “The menu for each evening meal in the dining room 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 catering team released a Cookbook bound outwards with 68 recipes of Outward Bound students’ favorite 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 peek into his cooking habits.

My home kitchen is … cozy and welcoming. I have 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 turn it into my dream kitchen are … none – it’s my perfect three-point kitchen. It’s small and efficient and I love it.

The items you always find in my fridge are … wholemeal mustard, homemade aioli and fresh vegetables.

Some of my pantry staples 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 fine oils.

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

The dishes I love to prepare most are … Having grown up on top of our family bakery, I still love making bread. When I run the Outward Bound kitchen, I love to see the smiles on the students’ faces when they see the fresh loaves coming out of the oven.

My rush meal is … hutspot– this is a Dutch dish of potatoes, carrots and onions. It goes with everything and is truly exquisite. Being Dutch too, these are three of the cheapest ingredients!

If friends drop by unexpectedly, I do … “clean the fridge” soup, garnished with aioli and aromatic herbs from my garden. Everyone always thinks I’ve been in a lot of trouble, but it’s a really great (and quick) way to consume aged vegetables.

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

Something unexpected that I make from scratch is … I make most of the things from scratch, but my curry pastes are quite popular.

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

The kitchen gadget everyone should own is … a mortar and pestle. You can create great flavors if you take your time. My microblade too – lemon zest is a good friend in the kitchen.

My food philosophy is … hot dishes, soft lighting, good music, good company and no cell phones. When at work in the Outward Bound kitchen, 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 them appreciation.

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Purchase the upcoming cookbook here.

Marcel Rood's Outward Bound cookbook.  Photo / Provided
Marcel Rood’s Outward Bound cookbook. Photo / Provided

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