Chance to go wild in Wai­heke with food chal­lenge

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By GE­ORGE GARD­NER

Food lovers are be­ing in­vited to reg­is­ter for a culi­nary com­pe­ti­tion on Wai­heke Is­land which is the first of its kind in the north of the North Is­land.

The Lo­cal Wild Food Chal­lenge is a free event where par­tic­i­pants cre­ate a dish with at least one wild in­gre­di­ent that is judged by a panel of chefs.

It is the brain­child of culi­nary ad­ven­ture chef, Kiwi Billy Man­son, who spends six months a year at Martha’s Vine­yard and six months in New Zealand.

Man­son has taken the chal­lenge around the globe to Fin­land, the South of France and the United States – at Martha’s Vine­yard and in Hawaii.

It is al­ready estab­lished in Glenorchy in the South Is­land, and in East­bourne near Welling­ton, but has never been brought fur­ther north. On Labour Day, the Lo­cal Wild Food Chal­lenge will come to Wai­heke Is­land. It will be run on the lawn at Wild on Wai­heke, next to the vine­yard restau­rant.

Or­gan­iser and restau­rant man­ager Wil­low Rown­tree is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple who are in­ter­ested to reg­is­ter so she can get an idea of num­bers.

‘‘It’s free to take part and it’s free for the public to come along and watch on the day. The day will have a coun­try fete feel, with ar­ti­san pro­duc­ers also tak­ing part.’’

It’s not a money-mak­ing ven­ture, she says.

‘‘The idea is that when peo­ple en­gage with the en­vi­ron­ment, learn about the re­sources around them, and how to ac­cess them sus­tain­ably, they are more in­clined to be guardians of the en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘It’s also about fam­i­lies ac­tive – get­ting fish­ing, hunt­ing and for­ag­ing to­gether for the in­gre­di­ents to make a meal.’’

Prizes will be up for grabs for the tasti­est dish un­der dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories – best of the sea, best of the land, and the en­try with the best story.

While at least one wild in­gre­di­ent is a must, Rown­tree says chef judges Bron­wen Laight, Marco Ed­wardes and Cor­radino Ar­tola may also award points for ex­tra wild and lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents. And, if there are enough en­tries, there will also be an award for the brewed and dis­tilled cat­e­gory – a new cat­e­gory cre­ated for the Wai­heke chal­lenge.

Photo: GE­ORGE GARD­NER

Cook­ing com­pe­ti­tion: Wil­low Rown­tree says the Lo­cal Wild Food Chal­lenge on Wai­heke Is­land on Labour Day is about en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to be guardians of the en­vi­ron­ment.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour news.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see a clip of a Martha’s Vine­yard chal­lenge.

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