Wellington food fest puts feet first

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2012
Welly on a plate

PLATE THIS UP: Wellington on a Plate chefs Rex Morgan, Jacob Brown, Shaun Clouston and Tom Hutchison.

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Calves' feet, the Titanic's last meal and turduckenqua will all be on offer to tempt the tastebuds at the fourth Wellington on a Plate festival.

Formally launched yesterday, the festival has grown significantly since it first entered the Wellington culinary scene in 2009, with 109 eateries offering up regional menus for the punters and 111 special events to choose from.

Festival organiser Sarah Meikle said the festival had gone from strength to strength since 2009, as more restaurants and regional food producers joined.

"The festival has quadrupled in size since then because I think people see it as such a perfect event for Wellington.

"I think it has become firmly entrenched on the calendar now and people know that August means Wellington on a Plate month."

This year's festival had an "alternative food" theme running through it, with events offering dinners of animals' feet, a "head to trotter" pig feast, and a roast with a difference serving up a turduckenqua – a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, stuffed with a quail.

While it was difficult to assess the economic benefits of the festival, Meikle said this year's new web-based ticketing system would make it easier to know how much money the festival brought into Wellington.

"In years past it has been hard to differentiate between money being spent by locals and who was coming in from outside of Wellington. We're definitely focused this year on getting a sense of the economic impact of the festival."

Given enough support and time to grow, Wellington on a Plate could be the iconic event that Wellington City Council was looking for, Meikle said.

"I think with those kinds of events it needs to be something that reflects the city really well, and Wellington is seen as a foodie city. The restaurants in Wellington have really come of age in the last few years, and I know that people are really envious that we have got such a great event going here."

The festival runs from August 10-26, with events region-wide.

 

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