Duco Events trim expectations for Nigella Lawson's Invercargill appearance

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.

Tables cost thousands of dollars and now organisers of a corporate shindig starring celebrity chef Nigella Lawson say they would be happy if they only sold just over half the available tickets.

Duco Events will bring Lawson to Invercargill on January 26, where she will talk about her life and participate in Q&A session at a four-course gala dinner at ILT Stadium Southland.

Duco chief executive Martin Snedden said while about 300 tickets had been sold so far, he hoped 500 to 550 would be sold in total.

"We'd be pretty happy if that's where it ended up."

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Snedden said about 800 tickets were on sale. A number of factors could be attributed to the pace of sales, he said.

"The time of year makes it a bit tricky," he said.

"Normally we'd have a longer lead-in time to sell, plus uninterrupted [periods to sell]. The Christmas break brings things to a bit of a slowdown."

In mid-December, Snedden said about 270 tickets had been sold.

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"There's still plenty of time for people to buy."

Snedden said about half the people who had bought tickets were from outside Invercargill.

Lawson would arrive in Invercargill around lunchtime on January 26, after appearing at the Langham Hotel in Auckland the night before, he said.

She would sign copies of her books and meet fans at the Paper Plus outlet at the H & J Smith Department Store that afternoon.

Snedden said an exact time was still being worked out, but hoped it could begin by about 2pm.

"It's an opportunity if people aren't going to the dinner to get a signature off her."

Snedden believed it would be OK for fans to bring in their own copies of Lawson's books for her to sign.

Media personality Kerre McIvor will be the MC for the gala dinner, while Kiwi musicians Lizzie Marvelly and Dave Dobbyn will perform.

Lawson will talk for about 10 minutes before a half-hour Q&A session. There would be no live cooking demonstration from Lawson.

Ascot Park Hotel executive chef Simon Henry was behind the menu for the evening, Snedden said. While the exact menu was still being finalised, Snedden said an entree of venison and a main course of lamb would be served.

Tables of 10 cost $2995, $3995 and $4995 plus GST, while individual tickets are $299 and $399 plus GST.

Following the gala dinner, Lawson would be spending the night at a hotel in Invercargill, Snedden said. She would then leave in the morning.

ILT Stadium Southland general manager Nigel Skelt said he was looking forward to the evening.

"No question about that, having someone of such an international calibre is really exciting, and opens up new opportunities for us."

Invercargill ratepayers will fork out $10,000 for the event.

Ben Mack: @benaroundearth

 - Stuff


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