Chef Fernando Campos
Chef Fernando Campos
“An inspired and creative chef, Fernando Campos flourishes in the kitchen utilising classical techniques, while showcasing the wonderous ingredients the South Island of New Zealand has to offer.
Born in the region of Santa Catarina - Brazil, Fernando grew up enjoying surfing and practising the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But what do these two activities have in common…? An expenditure of energy which brings about an insatiable appetite for good food. Being in one of Brazil’s most food influenced regions (predominantly in Mediterranean and Latino gastronomy) different influences and flavours is something Fernando is very familiar with. As an avid surfer, Fernando started traveling at a young age exploring different coastlines, cultures and cuisine around the world while training and refining his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu craft. This led him to win numerous titles including the Santa Catarina State Champion and New Zealand National Champion. However, his true talent would not be evident until he travelled to Aotearoa in 2005.
Fernando began his professional culinary career in 2005, where he worked under Alastair Dunlop at 'The Kestrel at the Landing' in Tauranga. This establishment was considered at the time as one of the best restaurants in the region and it was here where his love and passion for cooking began. He then, in 2008, began working at 'The Lodge at the Inlet' in Pauatahanui Wellington, where his culinary repertoire further flourished.
In 2012, Fernando was invited to work at Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses in Kaikoura by his good friend and mentor, renowned Kiwi Chef Jeremy Simeon. It was here that he fine-tuned his skills in fine dining, pleasing the palettes of the Lodge’s exclusive clientele. During this time Fernando also conducted numerous working holidays to further develop his own creativity, working at places such as Chez Panisse in San Francisco, and conducing classes with Hanuman The Thai Food Master at Three Trees Doi Saket Cooking School in Chang Mai, Thailand. These working holidays extend his skills through learning French and Asian culinary techniques.
In 2020 the owner of Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses, Tony Wilson, appointed Fernando as the Executive Chef. Fernando takes pride in this position, leading the kitchen team from the front, exceeding guests expectations visiting the Hapuku dining room, as well as coordinating fine dining experiences for helicopter picnics, private chef tables and planning what produce is needed from the onsite vegetable and herb gardens. He continues to elevate the cuisine offered at Hapuku by having his menus reflect the seasonal produce available, not only from the Lodge’s gardens, but using all ingredients the Kaikoura region has to offer.
Fernando can be described as an Executive chef who takes his inspiration from nature. When he’s not in the kitchen, he can be found surfing the beautiful Kaikoura coastlines, free diving for fresh seafood or in the mountains hunting or snowboarding. The natural landscape around him inspires his utilisation of the freshest produce, bringing strong, seasonal flavours into every dish he prepares.”