Thursday, 16 July 2020


About The Lost Spring cafe manager, Bastille Day and salmon

About The Lost Spring cafe manager, Bastille Day and salmon

Considering what is a good time to publish a story about a local French family, this week stood out. Yesterday (14 July) was Bastille Day and dad Sam, the new manager at and head chef of The Lost Spring Café, is about to enter the second annual Ōra King Awards.

Meet the Gosling family - there are also mum Severine, eleven-year-old Morgane and nine-year-old Mathis.

"We arrived in New Zealand in November 2011," said Sam, a trained French chef. "Severine and I used to own a restaurant in the mountains inland from the French Riviera. I was in the kitchen, Severine was front of house. We’ve had many guests from New Zealand. They were always so positive about their piece of the South Pacific. More out of curiosity than anything else we had a look on the internet and saw a big, beautiful country, but with only four million people. We were hooked.

"So, I sent a few CV’s out. And it wasn’t long before the emails started coming back. I ultimately accepted a job as head chef at Oreti Village in Pukawa at the south end of Lake Taupo. We wanted to go to a smaller place and it really worked for us."

"And just when we thought life couldn’t get any better, we visited Whitianga one weekend the end of last year and madly, completely fell in love with Mercury Bay.

"We went back to Pukawa and checked on the internet if there were any jobs going in Whitianga. It was such a pleasant surprise to see The Lost Spring was looking for someone to manage their café. I immediately contacted them, one thing lead to another and we permanently arrived in Whitianga the beginning of February, just in time for Morgane and Mathis to start their year at Mercury Bay Area School."

Sam said the outdoor lifestyle is the one thing that really attracted them to Mercury Bay. "And it’s a privilege to work at The Lost Spring," he added. "The pools and spa bring a lot of people to the area. I really want the café to add to the overall guest experience we offer."

Talking about the café menu, it’s difficult for Sam to hide his excitement. "It’s great to bring a bit of French technique to the great local produce I have available to work with," he said. And a good example of what he means is his entry into the Ōra King Awards - a competition where diners can nominate their favourite Ōra King salmon dish from anywhere in the world online (and go into the draw to win a $200 voucher at any restaurant serving Ōra King salmon). "I guess I want to create bit of Kiwiana," said Sam. "So, on The Lost Spring menu from this week will be an Ōra King salmon fillet seasoned with horopito pepper and served with a kina veloute, watercress pesto and pikopiko, the edible tip of an indigenous fern."

There’s little doubt that Sam and his family’s future is in Mercury Bay. "We’re here to stay," he said. "Morgane and Mathis love it at MBAS and Severine is very happy. We became New Zealand residents last year, the next step is citizenship. Not even on Bastille Day do we want to go back to France.

"All that’s missing is my salmon and watercress dish not yet having been named the Best Ōra King Dish of 2014."


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