Ten years of Visa Wellington On a Plate

From small beginnings Visa Wellington On a Plate is now one of the most anticipated events on New Zealand’s foodie calendar.

From small beginnings in 2009, Visa Wellington On a Plate is now one of the most eagerly anticipated events on New Zealand’s foodie calendar. This year marks the event’s 10 year anniversary and the party starts on August 10 when New Zealand’s capital dishes up hundreds of burgers, cocktails, festival dishes and a huge array of events over 17 days to celebrate a decade of this annual food festival.

Festival favourites Burger Wellington and Cocktail Wellington return where diners vote on their favourite burger and drink at participating restaurants. This year sees 180 burgers and 63 cocktails entered from across the region all battling for the ultimate bragging rights.

Arguably the most popular event Beervana will take place on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 August. Westpac Stadium is turned into a beer-lovers paradise with special one-off beer creations from Wellington, New Zealand, and international brewers all served with amazing food to match.  

International guests are always are draw card and 2018 is no different. The Chef Collaboration Series will play host to international chef’s including Hayden McMillan of Melbourne’s Etta, LA’s Gangsta Gardener Ron Finley, Sydney’s Dan Hong of Mr Wong and Ms G’s and London’s celebrated chef, Anna Hansen of The Modern Pantry.

By the numbers

In the last 10 years Wellington On a Plate has continued to grow from 30 events and 43 dine menus in 2009 to 148 events and 100 dine menus in 2018. During the 2017 festival 112,000 burgers were consumed as part of the event Burger Wellington and they were served with 67,000 matching Garage Project beers a 36% increase on the 2016 event.

During the month of August international visitors, particularly Australian visitors to Wellington increases year on year. Visa WOAP merchants averaged an increase of 41% in sales during the event when compared to the pre-event period.

In 2018 there is a total of 148 events, 180 burgers, 63 cocktails, 100 dine menus, and 267 hospitality businesses taking part.

Top five 2018 festival picks

Mad Hatter's Tea Party with a Twist: Dive through the rabbit hole and be transported to a magical otherworldly space. Let your taste buds be tickled by tremendously absurd high tea-style delights, including a teapot cocktail on arrival, not-your-usual club sandwiches, and champagne jellies.

Welcome to Valhalla: Eat to excess and enjoy an evening of whole beasts in viking-style frivolity. Imagine tables dripping with plentiful rustic dishes, whole fish, goblets of wine, and tankards of beer and mead.

Hiakai Hāngi: A traditional hāngi but not as you know it. Five top Kiwi and international chefs and foodies will gather around the hāngi pit in a celebration of Polynesian culture. Featuring Michael Meredith, Ron Finley, Morgan McGlone, James Knappett, led by Wellington's own Monique Fiso.

The Progressive Herbivore: Olive chefs present a four-course exploration of vegan and plant-based ingredients. They will showcase dishes and drink matches made from vibrant seasonal produce manipulated in creative ways, including dehydration and fermentation.

Rimutaka Prison Gate To Plate: An opportunity to enjoy a truly exceptional culinary experience behind bars, with all food prepared and served by prisoners at Rimutaka Prison. Renowned chef Martin Bosley returns to mentor the prisoners, along with chefs, Monique Fiso and Shepherd Elliott, who will bring their unique style to the canapés and three-course menu.