Café Owner Gwithyen Thomas Shares the Aroha in US
Originally from Auckland, Gwithyen Thomas, 28, and his American wife are co-owners of Aroha Restaurant in Westlake Village, California.
Aroha, which opened in September 2014, specialises in dishes that feature local ingredients as well as fresh seafood and meats flown in from New Zealand, with an emphasis on gluten-free fare.
Thomas talks to the Ventura County Star about his first food memories, his cooking influences and his current favourite dish on the Aroha menu.
Eating oysters off the rocks at Piha Beach is Thomas’ first culinary memory.
“And over the years the great chefs I’ve worked under, such as Mohammad Arun (at Iguacu Restaurant & Bar and Stamford Plaza, Auckland) in New Zealand, have been instrumental in getting me where I am today. He really taught me all the basics, flavour combinations and the secret weapons of flavour,” Thomas says when asked about his influences.
The Edmonds Cookery Book is his favourite cookbook.
“The hapuka [is my favourite dish on the menu] because no one else is serving anything like it in the country. We do it over fresh spring pea puree, roasted carrots and a thick slab of bacon,” Thomas says.
Original article by Lisa McKinnon, Ventura County Star, August 18, 2017.
Photo by Lisa McKinnon.