From Open Fires to Star Cook

Despite growing up cooking over an open flame, Dianne McDonald’s culinary skills today earned her the title of Barker’s 2015 Recipe Developer/Foodie!

In February, Barker’s set out to find an upcoming Recipe Developer/Foodie who, with their passion for food, would create some wonderful Barker’s inspired recipes to help us promote our products. The month-long search resulted in entries from all over New Zealand – professional bakers, homemakers and eager foodies.

Today, we were delighted to announce our winner Dianne McDonald from Dunedin. Dianne will work alongside Barker’s throughout 2015 to create mouth-watering dishes using Barker’s of Geraldine products. We’ll be sharing her dishes throughout the year. Watch out for her mouth-watering creations online – via Facebook, Instagram and

Dianne has a beautiful story to tell and is very family-focused which felt like the perfect fit for the Barker family. We are looking forward to working with her over the next 12 months and tasting all her delicious creations.

The prize is a 12-month recipe development contract to create delicious recipes using Barker’s products, a trip to the Barker family farm in Geraldine, a one-on-one recipe development and food styling workshop with Annabelle White, plus a Barker’s pantry starter pack. The total package is worth more than $7,500.

Dianne’s winning entry was an Asian Style Whole Baked Blue Cod using Barker’s Red Pepper and Chilli Jelly – simply delicious.

Asian Whole Baked Cod

Meet Dianne

Dianne McDonaldDianne is a mother of two from Dunedin who grew up in the Philippines where the family stove was an open fire. It was only when she moved to New Zealand in 2011 that she learnt how to cook using an oven.

“I grew up eating fish and learned how to cook them at a very young age. I was also taught how to cook in a fire since we couldn’t afford a gas stove. I only started using an oven when I came to New Zealand and my husband taught me how to use it baking cookies and cakes. Since then I have challenged myself making desserts and treats for him such as Kiwi favourites like pavlovas, sponge rolls and cakes, using my favourite Barker’s Passionfruit Curd.

I am so excited to make new dishes that are humble yet classy and tasty at the same time. I’m looking forward to working with the delicate flavours of Barker’s products and showcasing my ability to create beautiful dishes and share this with other passionate, like-minded people. And using social media means there are no geographic barriers.

The first time after having kids, I’m excited to follow my foodie dreams and it’s the perfect fit for me. I just love food and watching how it brings families together.

To be able to work with Annabelle White is a dream come true. I’ve watched her on TV and it’s such an honour to be able to do a workshop with her. I feel very lucky.”

Earlier this month, Dianne, Bex Savage from Rolleston, Jess Goodwin from Christchurch and Farzana Rashid from Auckland were announced as finalists.