Tasteful evening

Long time Good Morning show chef Laurel Watson will be in Blenheim this Friday for a special fundraising evening at The Old Barn in Riverlands.

The evening, which will feature 14 recipes by Laurel, has been organised by 15-year-old Fiona Blue from Awatere Valley, who is raising funds for her World Challenge trip to Vietnam and Cambodia at the end of the year. The St Margaret's College student will be among a group of some 25 students travelling to the Southeast Asian countries for a month in December.

The students need to raise $7000 each for the trip, with the Laurel Watson evening being one of several fundraisers that Fiona is planning.

"It should be really good, Laurel has been on TV for so many years and is a very good chef," said keen cook Fiona.

The evening, which kicks off at 7pm, will feature cooking demonstrations by Laurel, tastings, complimentary drinks, a raffle and supper.

"It will be a very relaxed evening - Laurel is a real character and very good in front of a crowd," added Fiona's mum, Jo.

This will be the first time that Laurel has been to Blenheim and she is looking forward to the event as well as travelling the top of the South Island with her family.

"I'll be focusing on simple and quick recipes as well as recipes that you really need to see to be able to do. I will also do some of my favourite rich recipes like a triple chocolate slice."

Vietnam and Cambodia are not countries one might expect to rank high on a 15-year-old's list of holiday destinations but Fiona can't wait for the adventure to begin. Jo, too, is excited for her daughter to experience a new culture.

"It's good for her to get out of her comfort zone and experience something new. I wish it were me going," said Jo.

The trip, Fiona's first overseas, won't just be a holiday. While the specifics of the itinerary haven't been finalised it includes tramping and then working at a school in one of the countries for four days. "When we arrive it will be about acclimatisation and getting used to the culture, then we are going tramping," explained Fiona.

An important part of the trip will be spending several days working at a school as teachers and labourers. The group, explained Fiona, will split into two with one half doing some teaching while the other works on a building for the school, with the girls trading jobs halfway through.

After this the students will see sights such as wonder of the world the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia, under the watchful eye of World Challenge staff.

"I'm not worried about her going," said Jo. "The World Challenge people have a lot of experience and they know what they are doing. Vietnam isn't known as a tourist hot spot but it is a lot better place to visit these days, and we have heard that even Cambodia is actually a great place to visit these days."

The evening with Laurel Watson will begin at 7pm,tickets available from Jo or Fiona on 03 575 7371 or emailing mountcarmel@clear.net.nz. No door sales and tickets must be bought in advance.

The Marlborough Express