About Monique FISO
Aotearoa New Zealand-born chef Monique Fiso is the force behind the celebrated Māori and Samoan restaurant HIAKAI in Wellington. She has crafted a distinctive cooking style that champions native Māori ingredients and cooking techniques. She started her career working for New Zealand chef Martin Bosley, before moving to New York to work in Michelin-starred restaurants including The Musket Room, PUBLIC and A Voce. Chasing a deeper connection to her home, people and culture, Monique then returned to Wellington to open her first restaurant, HIAKAI, specialising in Māori cuisine. Since launching the restaurant in 2016, Monique has appeared on Netflix’s The Final Table, and in 2020 released a book Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine, a bestseller and multi-award winner. She is one of New Zealand’s most exciting chefs working today. For the Aotearoa Country Special, we spoke with Monique about her Māori and Samoan inspiration, her appreciation for New Zealand’s land and native bounty, and her highly recommended Travel Gems to explore while in Wellington.