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Welly on a Plate

Prep your credit cards and tense your mouse finger – tickets for Visa Wellington on a Plate are now on sale and there’s a feast of fabulous events awaiting you…

Now in its ninth year, Visa Wellington On a Plate continues to find ever fascinating ways to celebrate excellent food and drink. It’s our country’s biggest food festival – this year held over 17 days, with more than 120 events, 140 special meal offers, 110 burgers and 40-odd cocktails – and is doing an excellent job of kicking off conversations about our food scene.

As festival director and NZ Food Writers member Sarah Meikle says, “How we dine says so much about who we are… this year, Visa Wellington on a Plate has challenged our culinary community to celebrate food as an essential part of New Zealand’s culture. I’m proud of New Zealand’s food and beverages. Let’s celebrate them, support them, consume them and make them truly ours.”

These sentiments are of course also close to the heart of the conversatioNZ movement, and one of the key events in the Food for Thought section of the programme is the movement’s latest symposium. Taking the theme of ‘The Future is Kai: New Zealand Food in 2030’, the symposium will host a wide range of New Zealand chefs and food-lovers, as well as Kiwi-born Ben Shewry, the chef-owner of Melbourne’s Attica (named 32nd on this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list), and Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer-prize winning restaurant critic who currently writes for the Los Angeles Times. If you’re interested in the future of our food culture (and surely that’s all of us), you won’t want to miss this conversation.

The guest chef section of the programme is also particularly strong this year – as well as speaking at the symposium, Ben Shewry will be cooking two very special lunches at Ortega Fish Shack. Shewry trained under Ortega’s Mark Limacher, and will prepare a five-course lunch, matched with drinks.

Elsewhere on the collab scene, Shanghai’s Jenny Bao is visiting Wellington to prepare a Sichuan “soul food feast” at WBC, the boys from Auckland’s Culprit are coming down to hang out in the kitchen at Shepherd, and Melbourne restaurant Cumulus Inc is staging a takeover of Egmont St Eatery.

There are too many other fantastic events to do justice to in the space available here, but a few worthy mentions include Martin Bosley’s Rimutaka Prison Gate to Plate dinner, with all food prepared and served by prisoners; an exhibition of tiny sculptures of iconic Wellington dishes; a dumpling making class with House of Dumplings’ Vicky Ha; afternoon tea matched with Tuatara beers; six courses of buffalo cooked by The Larder’s inimitable Jacob Brown… and many, many more.

We’re hugely fortunate to have a festival of this calibre in New Zealand; let’s all make the most of it. https://www.visawoap.com