JASON VAN DORSTEN, EXECUTIVE CHEF/DIRECTOR OF CAFE HANOI, SAAN AND XUXU DUMPLING BAR
So you drive a Land Rover?
It’s a gold 2004 Land Rover Discovery, and an auto. It was given to me by my mother-in-law who, I think, felt sorry for me using my BMW for fishing and whitebaiting. It’s great for carrying stuff between restaurants, launching the boat and filling with whitebait nets.
Who else is allowed to drive your Land Rover?
I’m not fussy who drives my cars.
What do you always carry in your car?
I always have to have a first aid kit. It just feels necessary, like a seat belt.
How often do you clean your Land Rover?
I clean it every week. I go to Wash World at 6am every Sunday morning. And, if it’s been near the sea, I always make sure to wash it afterwards.
A 1984 Honda Civic 4 speed manual in baby blue.
Your dream car?
So many… a 1988 BMW M3, it’s a beautiful classic car. A 2010 V8 BMW M3, a future classic and one of the last V8s. A Mercedes C63, a beautiful design and even more beautiful sound. And finally, a Ferrari 250 GTO, one of the most stunning cars made.
Who taught you to drive?
My dad and step-mum both taught me. They were good teachers, I just don’t think I was a very good student. In the end, dad bought me a $500 car, chucked me the keys and said “don’t #$%@ crash it” … which I did of course!
Most memorable road trip?
Every time I go to Vietnam I do a road trip on my 200cc Husky motorbike, she’s so ugly but I love her! Road trips in Vietnam are always memorable; you get some horrific roads, some beautiful roads and very interesting traffic to say the least. Dodging dogs, chickens and things falling off trucks, sometimes you will come round a corner and there will be a pile of sand in the middle of the road. My last trip was from Hanoi to Hoi via the Ho Chi Minh Highway through Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Amazing roads, scenery and food.
If you could go anywhere in the world, in any car, with any chef?
Give me a Land Rover Defender, full of spare parts, and I would start in Johannesburg, working my way up and west to Morocco. Ditch the truck for something old, European and convertible and work my way from Spain to Italy. I wouldn’t take a chef; I’d take my wife as we never get to hang out together. We would spend endless hours debating about which restaurants to go to.
What’s a great day trip out of Auckland?
Anywhere with a nice quiet beach I can fish from. Opito Bay in Coromandel is a special place with nice roads and a great pub. I like going to Whangarei to see family and get in an early morning fish.
What irritates you most about other drivers?
I’ve driven cars and bikes in quite a few countries and I find Kiwi drivers the most difficult, arrogant and impatient. I think we drive our roads with this inflated sense of entitlement, myself included. I’d rather tackle the intersection at the top of Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, than turn right into the Countdown on Richmond Rd.
As told to Donna McIntyre