November 16th, 2020 Clement

The Visa WOAP team - Festival highlights 2020

Well, we’ve made it. We’re almost at the end of the very first ever FULL MONTH of Visa Wellington On a Plate. (Are you full yet?!) 

Obviously, a lot has happened…. International chefs, dishes to send your tastebuds into the stratosphere, burgers to wrap your laughing gear around (over and over), cocktails to sup, events, pop-ups, masterclasses and more. 

With one more day of the festival to go, we thought we would take a look back on the Visa Wellington On a Plate and Beervana team’s Festival highlights (cue Vitamin C’s ‘Graduation’).  

Sarah Meikle, Festival Director   

“I was so fortunate this year to try so many dishes, burgers and festival events! Definitely a perk of the job! The stand outs for me were definitely the crayfish Dine dish at Boulcott Street Bistro and the fabulous 262 Brick Lane pop up menu at Field & Green. I loved the Breakneck Feed event at Shepherd and the Late 80s event too! The Wellington Food Story Speaker Series was a real highlight for me. Our food culture runs deep in Wellington and the contributors to this story proved just how much.

Beth Brash, Festival Programme Manager

“I feel an overwhelming sense of gratefulness this year, grateful that we were able to go ahead with the festival, grateful for the hospitality staff for giving it their all, and grateful to all the public for supporting our incredible industry one burger/cocktail/dish at a time. 

A real highlight for me was the theme that emerged in this years programme around Wellington's food history and the homage to those who have paved the way for this great foodie city. Like the Late 80's Wellington event at Prefab, Rita's Sunday Series celebrating Lois Daish, and the Wellington Food Story Speaker Series at Te Papa. I went to all of these and my heart (and puku) was so full afterwards with the amazing stories of what Wellington's hopso scene used to be like. In a world where it's easy to get obsessed with the latest food trend and the latest opening, I think it is also important to celebrate those who did the prep (like in any good kitchen really).” 

Alice McEnaney, Festival Programme Manager

“I feel an overwhelming sense of gratefulness this year, grateful that we were able to go ahead with the festival, grateful for the hospitality staff for giving it their all, and grateful to all the public for supporting our incredible industry one burger/cocktail/dish at a time. 

A real highlight for me was the theme that emerged in this years programme around Wellington's food history and the homage to those who have paved the way for this great foodie city. Like the Late 80's Wellington event at Prefab, Rita's Sunday Series celebrating Lois Daish, and the Wellington Food Story Speaker Series at Te Papa. I went to all of these and my heart (and puku) was so full afterwards with the amazing stories of what Wellington's hopso scene used to be like. In a world where it's easy to get obsessed with the latest food trend and the latest opening, I think it is also important to celebrate those who did the prep (like in any good kitchen really).” 

Oliver Marshall, Festival Sponsorship Manager

“This year I loved the new speaker series at Te Papa. Having the opportunity to hear from top Wellington restaurateurs about Wellington’s food story. Seeing pure passion pour out of them as they discussed their journeys and love for food was captivating and a great reminder for why we do what we do”   


JoAnne Carr, Festival PR & Communications Manager

“Culinary highlights included [Kiwi-born London chef] Margot Henderson’s anchovy dip, served at her chef collaboration with Loretta (can’t stop thinking about it); Cocoro and Logan Brown’s chef collaboration, Heart & Soul (Japanese food at Logan Brown - heart eyes!), and Beervana, which is such a fun time, and showcases New Zealand’s stellar beer community. 

“I also loved working with restaurants, chefs and journalists to tell the wonderful stories behind Wellington’s food scene and its people. We have such a special culinary community here, who simply love food and work so hard to share that passion with others. 

“Something I’ve constantly heard from Aucklanders in the last month was how envious they were of the capital’s culinary festival, how the city gets behind it, and of our hospitality community. I think that speaks volumes. Kind of like your older sibling giving you a pat on the back.”

Ryan McArthur, Beervana Manager

“With Beervana not being held within VISA Wellington on a Plate this year, I spent most of the festival behind the Beervana typewriter so my few experiences with the festival involved a handful of burgers, a team outing to 1980's Wellington and a wonderful lunch at Boulcott Street Bistro.

But my highlight had to be seeing the team here realise a festival that not so long ago seemed like an impossibility.  

So that and aforementioned lunch at Boulcott Street Bistro that hit so many of the things that make me go mmmmmm: Oysters, Martinis (Martinis, Oysters), Crayfish, French Fries and that Monkey-Fighting,  Monday to Friday Beef Tartare!!!

It was like the menu was made just for me and I'm still dreaming of it. 

See you at Beervana ;)” 

Melissa Davey, Marketing & Communications Manager

“Once again the programme for Visa Welly On a Plate has been bursting with flavour and I've loved how people have come out in their thousands to support our amazing and truly world-class hospo scene. A real highlight has been discovering the rich and important history of food in our Capital City through the Food Stories of Wellington speaker series presented by Te Papa. From the streams and creeks once abundant with kai such as eel and fish (these creeks and streams still exist, they're just currently piped through underground culverts and drains in places such as Bowen Street and Cambridge Terrace), through to the the first coffee house on the waterfront built in 1840 (proving that coffee does indeed flow through the veins of Wellingtonians!), fast forward to the hazy days of the late '80's/early 90's restaurant scene, and on to today's cult hits, this series has shown that food has always been part of the fabric of our city. Check out our podcast page to hear more of these fascinating stories.”

Clèm Rebouillat, Festival Marketing and Social Media Coordinator

“It was my second year participating to Visa WOAP and first year as a member of the WOAP team. The highlight of this month for me was discovering the Festival Events. The creativity and talent showcased by the restaurants in these culinary experiences was far beyond my expectation. Two of the most memorable events I have attended this year were the Breakneck Feed 2.0.2.0 at Shepherd with 20 diners, 20 courses, 220 minutes and a Sensory Adventure by the Sensonauts, an event to awake your senses and imagination through textures, colours, music, sounds and of course flavours.”