Why hasn’t chef and restaurateur Sean Connolly changed anything in his career

Sydney-based Sean Connolly will be in New Zealand on August 24 for an event during Restaurant of the Week in Auckland.

Sydney-based Sean Connolly will be in New Zealand on August 24 for an event during Restaurant of the Week in Auckland.

Sean Connolly is a Yorkshire-born chef and restaurateur who splits his time between his home country of Sydney and New Zealand.

The 55-year-old is Executive Chef for Hippopotamus Restaurant at QT Hotel, Wellington, and Esther at QT Hotel, Auckland – which he created and named after his grandmother – along with four restaurants in Sydney and New South Wales.


He lives in Sydney with his wife, Joe, and they have three children aged 24, 21 and 18. It will hit the Tasman River during Auckland Restaurant Week for a one-off event, “Esther’s French Fling with Hippopotamus” on August 24.

Read more:
* Weekend stay in Auckland, arranged
* What Chefs Cook at Home: Sean Connolly
*Chef Sean Connolly prepares a new Auckland restaurant from Managed Solitude

I wish 10 years ago I knew…

Working with bad people will make me richer and wiser. I wouldn’t change anything in my career. But I’ve worked with good and bad people over the years, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I have had an exciting career and have never turned down an opportunity before.

I wish I could share a life with…

Liam Gallagher. I love him. makes me laugh. He says what he thinks and has no filter. The things coming out of his mouth follow my mind. Standing in front of 50,000 people and singing as he does would be great. I’ve seen him many times in my life.


“[Liam Gallagher] He says what he thinks, and he has no filter.”


I wish I could eat every day…

Food in Esther. I’ve had the experience taking it every day recently on my first trip to Auckland. When I arrived, I got Covid and stayed in the room at the QT hotel for seven days, eating via Esther’s room service. I realized how beautiful this food is, eating clean and fresh food every day was a good feeling. Esther’s chefs have such technical prowess. They are amazing.

The person I wish was on a banknote is…

I had two. This would be my grandmother Esther who was like the Queen Mother in our family and my mother Margaret who was like a queen. They both taught me how to cook and prepared me in my career. I have been cooking since an early age and found my vocation early because of them. My mum is 84 and still lives in Yorkshire. I hope to visit it this year.

The noise I never want to hear again is…

Whistling in the restaurant kitchen. Whoever whistles in the kitchen, I’ll go after that person. I…hate beeping. I feel a pain in the side of my head when I hear it. It leads me to loopy. I also say that if anyone was too cheerful while cooking, they wouldn’t focus.

I I wish I could spend my Sunday with…

Mohamed Ali. I was a kid in the ’70s when he inspired every man on the planet. I was stylish in Yorkshire, but even I wanted to be a boxer when I was young. My father took me to a local park and there was a child being beaten. Luckily I decided to stick with making sticky buns. Muhammad Ali was very passionate and excited. He thought he could do anything.

I wish to live in…

Sardinia in Italy. Good food, good wine, lovely weather and beautiful turquoise water. I haven’t been there before but I know it will be fine. I have a house in Byron Bay but it’s not where I’d like to be. I want a place that changes my life and changes my structure and what I do. Love the idea of ​​a complete escape, nothing but food shopping and all that sun.

I wish New Zealand was more…

This is tough because New Zealand is a great country and I can’t blame it. I have been there 120 times in the last decade. I go every four weeks to see restaurants – except during the covid period.

I love connecting with New Zealand suppliers, they come to meet me in the restaurant with the tomatoes or herbs they have grown for me to cook. You don’t feel the same village feeling in Australia. You don’t get a chance to meet farmers. New Zealanders are exciting and fun, too.

Sean’s quick shots:

the summer or winter

city or the countryside

NIGHT OUT or night in

a call or text

cook or the garden

meat or Seafood

Netflix or Spotify


lake Ocean

dinner party or Resturant

late night or early at night

sunrise or sunset