Andria Hibe came to New Zealand from the Philippines three years ago and loves it so much she’s decided to stay. She is Marketing and Events Coordinator for I Love Takapuna and has been with the team more than two years now, starting as an intern and working her way up.
She came from a research background and has found her role, organising events and meeting and working with people who are passionate about Takapuna, both challenging and gratifying.
Outside of singing Takapuna’s praises to everyone she encounters, Andria also enjoys hiking, camping, and travelling. She was “a homebody” until she arrived in New Zealand and discovered how much fun being out and about is. She and her partner often go on camping road trips around the country and she also loves travelling further afield: she recently spent a month in Japan.
For down time at home, videogames and books are her usual companions. Plus trying out new recipes. “If it looks interesting enough I’ll try my hand at it,” Andria says. “We got a slow cooker last year so I’ve been trying out different recipes with that. Now that it’s summer, I’ve been making pasta salads. Working next to Takapuna Beach, it’s the perfect lunch food! I feel like I’m having a picnic every day.”
For Channel readers, however, she’s shared one of her favourite dessert recipes with Christine Young.
Christine Young: What is the secret to making this recipe work?
Andria Hibe: The dark cocoa powder. I love dark chocolate and I love gooey desserts and this brownie recipe is a blissful perfect marriage of that.
CY: Why did you choose this recipe?
AH: This is my favourite dessert recipe. It’s super easy and extremely tasty. My partner used to run a homemade baked goods market stall, and this is one of the bestsellers, so you know it’s really good. Some customers even went back even after leaving the market to buy more to take home with them!
CY: What do you love about cooking?
AH: It’s incredibly relaxing and a great bonding activity. I used to be my mum’s little kitchen helper and it was my favourite chore when I was a kid. I love chopping and peeling vegetables and even helping my mum shop for ingredients. My partner and I also cook and bake together a lot and it’s a great way to spend time. You have the reward of delicious food after too!
CY: Are you a self-taught cook, or did you have a cooking mentor?
AH: I would say a good mix of both! I love learning things, so experimenting, researching, and looking up stuff is a pretty big chunk of how I cook. There are so many resources out there on cooking and baking. I would not enjoy cooking as much as I do now if my mum didn’t start me on it, however. She makes the best Filipino food and I always look forward to her visiting me here, so she can make my favourite dishes again. My partner was the one who got me into baking. He makes the best desserts and when we started going out, baking together was one of our most frequent date activities!
CY: What’s the biggest disaster you’ve had in the kitchen?
AH: This will sound like I’m lying but I’ve never really had a disaster in the kitchen. I’ve had dishes that didn’t turn out like I expected but they’re always still edible. One thing that I will share though that I’m quite embarrassed about is that I can never get rice right when cooking on the stove. Rice is a staple in Filipino cuisine and we eat it for pretty much every meal so I grew up with a rice cooker. When I came here, I didn’t have one and all the rice I cooked got too crispy instead of fluffy. I’m not too bad at it now after so many tries but it’s still never as fluffy as I would like.
CY: What’s your favourite cuisine?
AH: What a hard question! I love trying out food from different countries so it’s hard to choose just one. If I think of a cuisine that has the most food I love though, I would go with Japanese. I didn’t have one single bad meal while I was there! We stayed at a temple lodging at Koyasan where they only serve vegetarian Buddhist monks’ cuisine; I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did!
CY: What foodie spots do you enjoy visiting locally – and why?
AH: My top three places to eat at Takapuna are Poké Poké, El Humero, and Basu Lounge. Poké Poké is my usual go-to whenever I don’t bring my own lunch; I’m obsessed with how tasty it is! El Humero is my favourite dinner place; their carne empanada is to die for. And of course, Basu Lounge. That’s where I go to when I just want something good, comforting, and cheap. My favourites are the dumplings with spicy sauce and their Dan Dan noodles; they’re so tasty I’m always surprised they don’t have lines out of the door!
Dark Fudge Brownies
1 cup butter, melted
1½ cups white sugar
1½ cups brown sugar
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup nuts (optional)