June 13th, 2018 Chris

10 of the best chefs coming to Wellington

The more the merrier

They say that too many chefs spoil the broth, but Visa Wellington on a Plate, together with Singapore Airlines and QT Museum Wellington hotel are out to prove that sometimes more chefs working together can deliver some fine results indeed. This year's VWOAP programme features ten once-in-a-lifetime events bringing together top culinary talent from New Zealand and around the world. By their powers combined, they are the Chef Collaboration Series, and they are here to make VWOAP's 10th birthday a truly unforgettable affair.

(Tickets on sale from 12pm Mon 18 June in the Visa Pre-sale, then general sale 12pm, Thur 21 June. These will go quiiiick!)

Employing the skills of five renowned chefs to cook and serve a traditional hāngi, Hiakai Hāngi will be led by Wellington's own champion of Māori cuisine Monique Fiso. Monique will be joined by fellow Kiwi Michael Meredith and international guests Ron Finley (LA), Morgan McGlone (Melbourne) and James Knappett (UK). The four-course meal will be accompanied by some damn good bevvys, thanks to Kono; Tutū cider, Kono and Tohu wine, and entertainment served up at dusk, overlooking the Wellington Harbour.

While the hāngi will no doubt be the centrepiece, each chef will show off their individual style by presenting a snack to kick-off the evening. Together they're planning what will go into the hāngi, with Monique advising the international chefs on the seasonal ingredients available in August. What sets this hāngi apart from the traditional will be the modern thinking going into what will be cooked, right down to the condiments and sauces. 

Monique isn't a stranger to working with other chefs, with a number of collaborative events in L.A. and Australia under her belt, part of a continual learning process to try different things and push beyond the routine of a regular dinner service: "The big thing I get from it is being able to work with others and getting different ideas and looking at things from different perspectives."

It's this drive that saw her settling in New York for seven years, working in some of the Big Apple's top kitchens. The experience taught her that things don't happen overnight, and putting in the hard work hard and being prepared to fail are integral.

Now she's ready to make her mark on New Zealand's food scene by combining her knowledge of traditional Māori cuisine and her Michelin star training. Monique will continue pushing for our restaurants to be recognised amongst the best in the world, and points to the international acclaim showered on Australian restaurants as proof that it's possible for us. 

I can't think of a better way to teach some international guests about New Zealand food than getting them involved in preparing a hāngi.

Stop, collaborate and listen to what else is in store in this year’s Chef Collaboration Series, presented by Singapore Airlines.

  • 2. An Award-Winning Pairing
    Chamelon's Chef de Cuisine Paul Limacher and the acclaimed Kenny Trinh of Adelaide's award-winning Shiki join forces for a five-course meal worthy of a standing ovation. This is a rare chance to what happens when two innovative chefs at the top of their game meet in the kitchen.
  • 3. Eat Up With Al Brown
    The inimitable Al Brown returns to his old stomping ground to take over Boulcott Street Bistro for a long lunch of seasonal, simple and beautifully prepared dishes. Expect plenty of great food, flowing drinks and lively conversation.
  • 4. Etta In Residence
    Melbourne-based Kiwi chef Hayden McMillan has won praise for Etta, a modern bistro with a focus on healthy, sustainable food. He brings his innovative style to Floriditas for just four dinners using seasonal ingredients in a way that is sure to surprise.
  • 5. Frankie Goes To Wellywood
    Two tribes come together as Frank Camorra of Melbourne’s MoVida teams up with the good folks at Logan Brown. They’ll be raging hard in the kitchen so that you can relax over a multi-course menu of Spanish and Kiwi flavours.
  • 6. Hot For Chicken
    Australian sensation Belles Hot Chicken are definitely not winging it when it comes to dishing up some of the best fried chicken in this part of the world. For one night only they’ll be setting up shop in the Visa Festival Hub at Prefab Hall along with local favourites Shepherd, Garage Project and Wine Diamonds.


  • 7. Mr & Ms G’s
    Matt Swinhoe and Dan Hong of popular Sydney restaurants Mr Wong and Ms G, respectively, and our very own team at Mr Go's celebrate Asian cuisine with a boundary-pushing, six-course banquet. It all goes down at the Visa Festival Hub at Prefab Hall. 
  • 8. Taste of Terrôir
    Egmont Street Eatery and Craggy Range winery’s award-winning restaurant Terrôir join forces to cultivate an unforgettable evening of terra-fic food and world-class wine. Terrôir chef Casey McDonald and the Egmont crew will draw seasonal inspiration from local produce and Terrôir's own kitchen garden.
  • 9. The Festival of Ostara
    Ostara, the Germanic Goddess of spring and dawn, is the inspiration for a feast from Anna Hansen, head chef and owner of London’s famed Modern Pantry, and our own Amy Gillies of Salty Pidgin. This four-course meal will match delicious seasonal fare with lo-fi wines. It’ll be the perfect way to farewell winter and welcome the new spring.
  • 10. Trust The Chef
    Vaughan Mabee and Adam Harrison of Queenstown's Amisfield Bistro bring their "Trust the Chef" tasting menu concept to VWOAP. They'll be joined in the kitchen by Hippopotamus' Laurent Loudeac for an eight-course meal (paired with Amisfield cellar wines) guaranteed to surprise as they draw inspiration from French gastronomy, molecular play and native New Zealand ingredients.