How do you bring people who have impact on the New Zealand food industry together to get them thinking and talking? First you need someone who can drive the idea. On May 4, Giulio Sturla of Roots Restaurant in Lyttleton achieved the first step in setting up ConversatioNZ, a new movement to share knowledge, ideas and passion in our food community.
Giulio and his wonderful team brought a group of chefs, growers, producers and food professionals together for a day of inspirational talks during which experiences, observations, passion and knowledge of craft were shared. Speakers included chef Matt Lambert from The Musket Room in New York, foraging guru Peter Langlands, farmer Michael Voumard and NZGFW past president Lauraine Jacobs.
The talks focused on nature, and its important place in our food culture, and New Zealand’s potential as an exciting food destination, with a unique voice. Each speaker came from a different background and position, but they all highlighted the importance of a connection to the land, nature and our environment. Michael Voumard summed it up nicely when he said, “You need personality, you need local. Obscurity does not bring longevity.”
The next step is to make ConversatioNZ a year-round movement culminating in annual national talks, with regional forums in between. Giulio and his team are now working on the organisational side of the ConversatioNZ to ensure its continuance.
You can follow ConversatioNZ on Facebook, and its newsletter can be found at http://www.conversationz.co.nz/contact. The next ConversatioNZ event is a “cook up” (collaborative dinner) at Orphans Kitchen in Auckland on June 9. There is more information in this Viva article http://www.viva.co.nz/article/food-drink/new-zealand-food/