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Just the Tonic

While his background and training might be old-school traditional, scrubbing his way through pots and pans in Queenstown during the night and snowboarding during the day through to running kitchens in the French Alps’ top hotels, Town Tonic’s chef and owner Jamie Bennett has always been at the forefront of pushing fresh, seasonal and local produce. Taking over Riccarton House 13 years ago with a former business partner, the pair introduced the now-Saturday-staple Christchurch Farmers’ Market to the city.

He followed this up with Passengers & Co, then the New York-lounge cool of Town Tonic, where his tricked-up takes on and sexy delivery of fresh, inspired offerings have put him among the city’s top culinary alchemists. Deliberately removing barriers between customers and chef with his open kitchen, Jamie invites patrons to watch and talk to him as he whips up his genius creations, and he’s all about reconnecting with the community and what’s on the plate.

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