A group of passionate chefs, producers, media, tourism and event organisers have come together to define the New Zealand food story. The journey is just a few years old but a new website is an important step in a collective narrative.
The Eat New Zealand website (https://www.eatnewzealand.nz/) launched this week, and has over two thousand food businesses listed including eating destinations, farmers markets, events and food tourism operators throughout the country.
It's the first time New Zealand's farmers markets have been listed on the same platform and the first time regional food information can be found in the same place. It's been designed so a food itinerary of the country can be made.
The huge undertaking is only the beginning, and the organisation behind the website hopes it will become the landing place for New Zealand food.
It all started when a group of some of New Zealand’s notable chefs, producers and food lovers began a conversation on how to define New Zealand cuisine.
Eat New Zealand's founder culinary maestro Giulio Sturla from the award winning Roots Restaurant in Lyttelton, near Christchurch, says the local food industry is very collaborative and it just came about when a group of them got together. "We knew the time was right, and my experience of the rise of cuisines in places like South America showed me we had everything we need here to show the world a completely unique offering. What has been achieved in less than three years is amazing, but there's still so much work to do.”
Angela Clifford, Eat New Zealand CEO, says “We've seen what New Nordic Cuisine can do for Scandinavia's food and tourism and we believe our country is ripe for this type of gastronationalism.”
"We have incredible ingredients enjoyed around the world, but we've not been good at connecting those with people's experiences when they visit the country. We believe this is a significant step in that direction."
The Eat New Zealand collective is a not for profit organisation and has had to be creative about finding money, but it has the support of many of the country's top chefs, media, event and tourism operators. The executive includes representatives from Wellington Culinary Events Trust and Taste of Auckland Festival but at its heart the movement has been a collaboration between chefs, restaurant owners and producers.
"We have a saying in the kitchen" smiles Sturla "Push, push, push." "We know this website and the movement that supports it is the beginning of a new era for New Zealand food. We're determined to keep pushing to put our food, places and people together on the world map".
The new website launch will be celebrated with a collaborative fundraising dinner between top New Zealand restaurants Amisfield (Queenstown) and Roots on April 11 in Christchurch. Amisfield head chef Vaughan Mabee along with Sturla promise a night of cutting edge New Zealand cuisine.