Graeme Jones - chef and now author
By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
For 35 years food has played a huge role in Graeme Jones' life.
Right now, as Addington's Events Centre Manager, he has a key role in feeding the thousands who will flock to the raceway on IRT New Zealand Cup day next Tuesday and then Show day three days later.
But this year Jones has a side hustle - he is a published author and his brand new book, Bulls#*t and Barbecues, has just gone on sale.
"It started as a project during Covid and now it's 427 pages and it's not that bad," Jones says.
It reflects his cooking journey, from an apprenticeship at The George Hotel in Christchurch to Executive Chef stints in the Bay of Islands and Whangarei, and then back to Christchurch to work for Continental Caterers and then Airport Sudima Hotel before arriving at Addington in 2010 pre-earthquake.
"This book is not just here's a recipe and here's a picture, it's got some narrative and I tell a few yarns."
"The recipes come from many years of doing this - I've got decades of industry experience, there's not a lot I haven't done."
The self-described "colourful character" was approached by a publisher friend and "fellow foodie", Beau Davidson during the pandemic in 2021.
"I've never written a book or anything, I'd written an IOU once," he laughs, "and he asked me if I wanted to write a book about barbecuing - giving a few tips, the dos and don'ts, that sort of thing."
Living on a lifestyle block in North Canterbury, Jones is a habitual early riser - "I'm up at 2am every morning and start work at 3" - and he found himself with plenty of time to get to work.
"I'd just put on a bit of music and get tapping away - nothing else to do during lockdown."
He wrote each and every day, many times at both ends of the day - "in the evenings the pinot would get opened and off I'd go!"
"There's a bit of my humour in there - for instance in the "need to destroy" section there is just one entry - "condensed milk salad dressing, can't stand it, hated it as a kid, just don't get it!"
It's intentionally New Zealand centric.
"It's very much go down to the shops and buy the groceries - no point writing about stuff you can't find at the supermarket."
And it canvasses a myriad of things related to barbecuing.
"There's picking the style of barbecue, picking the fuel, what to do and what not to do, how to light the barbie, and everything else - hot smokers, cold smokers, brining, herbs, spices, rubs, chillis - you name it."
"I write how I'd like to show people."
As you'd expect proteins feature prominently and Jones has his own personal favourites.
"These days everyone goes for brisket but I actually prefer chuck steak - it's got more flavour. And it could be a 10 hour cook and I'd cook it just for a burger for my dinner."
"Seafood too is always a crowd pleaser"
And then there's salads , vegetables and even deserts.
"Pavlova roulade is great on the barbecue or some apple fritters."
After starting out in 2021 Jones finished writing the book earlier this year though it has had some finessing since then.
"The editor took me to town on some things - couldn't say some things because I'd upset some people!"
The initial print run is 3000 copies, with the book selling for $50.
"We've sold 200 just through word of mouth and with Christmas coming up and clients always looking for gifts I'm hopeful it will go alright."
And writing and completing his first book must have an ok experience - he's already started on his second.
To purchase a copy view here
A promo code can be used on the purchase page for a discount of 20% - BSBBQ20