Linger a While with Leslie Hottiaux, Chef and Co-Owner of Apéro

Leslie Hottiaux sitting in her restaurant.

Leslie Hottiaux / Apéro

As an Auckland transplant, we were curious to see what kept Leslie Hottiaux in the city after venturing over on a working holiday visa over ten years ago. Seems like it was the magic of the city.

Words by: Ashlyn Oswalt
Photos by: Anna Briggs and Supplied

Leslie Hottiaux had a vision - to create a dream place where Aucklanders could eat fine food and drink interesting wine in a relaxed atmosphere. Realising her and her husband could create a place themselves to fill that gap, they opened Apéro Food and Wine in 2014.

Born in France, Leslie grew up in Toulouse, completing her culinary school training there in 2008. To say she’s a classically trained chef with a good understanding of what Kiwis want to eat and drink is an understatement - the woman knows how to create a restaurant that has become a true “must stop” when in Auckland.

What do you do on the weekends in Auckland?

Mondays and Tuesdays are my weekend, and that is pretty much 100% family time. In summer, we hit the beaches and parks, in winter we enjoy a little mushroom foraging.

What is your favourite thing about the city?

My favourite thing about Auckland is how easy it is to actually get out of the city. A 45-minute drive puts you in a completely different place, removed from everything.

How would you describe Auckland to someone who hasn’t visited?

Auckland is a big little city.

You have friends coming to stay for a long weekend and surprise, they’ve never been to Auckland! Where are you taking them?

We’d head to Kare Kare beach out West, Tawharanui Regional Park up north, or Waiheke Island. Basically these are the must-dos when I have family or friends coming from France.


Leslie admitted that many of her weekend activities included occasions perfect with a four-year-old in tow, a sentiment many can agree with. However, when she is able to find time for herself, exploring the little eateries, cafes, and bars around Auckland is what tickles her fancy. 

Leslie Hottiaux's Neat Places