Press releases and news
What would life look like without hospitality? Sarah Meikle | Ensemble Magazine feature - 25 February, 2022
Wellington eateries win big in the 2021/2022 Cuisine Good Food Awards - 9 February, 2022
Monique Fiso of Hiakai
Asher Boote of Hillside and Daisy's
Wellington’s restaurants and chefs scooped top awards at the 2021/2022 Cuisine Good Food Awards announced last night, with 14 eateries awarded hats, and top awards going to restaurants Hiakai, Floriditas, alongside chefs Monique Fiso (HIAKAI) and Asher Boote (Hillside and Daisy's).
Visa Wellington On a Plate CEO, Sarah Meikle, says the Cuisine Good Food Awards are the gold standard for hospitality across the country, and have come at a time when the industry needs recognition and support more than ever before.
“On behalf of the Visa Wellington On a Plate team, we are absolutely thrilled for all of our winners and those who picked up ‘hats’, the accolades are very well deserved and we encourage everyone to dine out at these incredible restaurants, cafes and bars.
“In particular, we recognise HIAKAI as an outstanding restaurant for our region, winning Best Specialty Restaurant and chef Monique Fiso named as Chef of the Year, along with category winners Floriditas for winning Best Casual Restaurant, and chef Asher Boote of Hillside and Daisy’s for taking out Champions for Change.
“With a total of 24 local eateries listed as finalists, and 16 of those earning hats, this is a solid testament to the talent, passion and creativity of our restaurateurs; firmly cementing Wellington as the culinary capital of New Zealand,” she adds.
Monique Fiso from HIAKAI says her entire team are thrilled with the win, acknowledging support from her partner and HIAKAI Co-Owner Katie Monteith for her creative direction and pushing the team to do the best they can.
“It was also great to see people who had been hustling for many years get recognised in the awards - like the team at Floriditas - we know the work that goes in behind the scenes and understand what it takes.”
“I started in the kitchen 14 years ago, it’s taken 20 years to get here and achieve three hats, it’s just surreal.”
To further support Wellington’s vibrant culinary scene, the Visa Wellington On a Plate team are continuing efforts to encourage dining out in the CBD and greater Wellington region.
Meikle adds, “we know that there are less people out and about in the city as many workplaces shift to working from home, among other flexible options, however hospitality is still open for business.
“This move has a real impact on many operators who are still recovering from the last lockdown, so we’re calling on Wellingtonians to go out and support our incredible restaurateurs while it’s safe to do so,” she says.
The awards announcement comes after the open call for Visa Wellington On a Plate submissions, with the annual culinary festival planned to go ahead this August. Submissions for events close on February 23, 2022.
The 2021/2022 Cuisine Good Food Award Wellington finalists and ‘hatted’ restaurants are listed below:
Ones to watch:
For media enquiries please contact:
Jade Lucas - PR and Communications Manager
Ph: 021 090 66758
About Visa Wellington On a Plate
Visa Wellington On a Plate is Wellington’s annual food festival held each August, with a curated programme of festival events, pop-ups, chef collaborations, dishes, cocktails and burgers. Now in its 14th year, Visa Wellington On a Plate is firmly established as a key event in the festival calendar for people across the Wellington region, and New Zealand.
For more information about the Cuisine Good Food Awards visit www.cuisine.co.nz
Visa Wellington On a Plate returns at Level 2 - 7 September, 2021
A second helping of Visa Wellington On a Plate as culinary festival restarts in Level 2
Those who are over home cooking will welcome the news that Visa Wellington On a Plate is serving up a second helping and restarting culinary festivities at Level 2 - albeit with mandatory scanning, masks and distanced dining, for the time being.
Festival events, Garage Project presents Burger Wellington and Cocktail Wellington presented by Tommy’s will recommence from Wednesday, 8 September. Ticketed Festival events are in the process of planning new dates, where possible, with event organisers and iTICKET contacting ticket holders with updates, shortly. Festival ratings will also return at Level 2, with diners able to rate the burgers and cocktails they’ve tried on the Festival website.
Sarah Meikle, Festival Director and founder, says the plan is to now run the remainder of Visa Wellington On a Plate for up to four weeks from this Wednesday (8 September), depending on level changes, which could also potentially include a return to Level 1.
The scheduled four weeks will help to account for the reality that Festival venues will serve less people under Level 2 restrictions (limited to 50 per venue), however Ms. Meikle says the region’s hospitality industry is well-versed when it comes to working to Covid-19 guidelines.
“Because Visa Wellington On a Plate works on a decentralised model, and the venues are throughout the region, we are fortunate the Festival can still run under Level 2 guidelines,” she says.
“The hospitality industry has been here before - they are very nimble when it comes to accommodating those rules of separate, seated service and, now, ensuring diners are scanning in and masked up. Yes, it’s challenging, but this is what has to be done to open doors again, as well as keeping diners safe and confident when dining out.
“Obviously, anything can change over the coming weeks, so we are monitoring the situation as it continues, and remaining flexible to accommodate any potential level changes, and making decisions in line with official Covid-19 announcements.”
Visa Wellington On a Plate is one of the busiest times of the year for the capital’s hospitality and produce industries. The latest national lockdown struck just as restaurants, eateries and bars around the Wellington region were right in the swing of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest culinary event, with two more weeks to go and five days into the hugely popular Burger Wellington component of the Festival.
The overwhelming majority of participating restaurants have decided to go forward with Festival events, burgers and cocktails at Level 2. At this stage, more than 90% of the remaining Festival events sessions are still scheduled to go ahead.
Raechal Ferguson, owner of Field & Green, said in the two weeks of the Festival that had taken place pre-lockdown, the restaurant was the busiest it had ever been with its pop-up event, Bar Salonika, with more than a thousand bookings for the remaining two weeks of the festival month. And it doesn’t look like the lockdown had ruined diners’ appetites for Visa Wellington On a Plate.
“Since the Level 2 announcement yesterday, bookings have been flying in every 20 seconds. We were prepared and ready to go. The mask wearing is the biggest change for us, but it was no surprise as this is what has been happening overseas. If that’s what we need to do then that's what we need to do. This might be the new normal, and people are getting used to it,” she says.
Ms Meikle called for diners to be patient and kind with the hospitality industry and Visa Wellington On a Plate Festival organisers as both worked to the perimeters of the latest government Level 2 announcement.
“Much like we are as festival organisers, the hospitality industry is planning and making decisions in line with the official Covid-19 announcements, so that message of being kind extends to these businesses as they get back into the swing of the festival. It has been an incredibly stressful time for them, so please be mindful as they accommodate the logistics of this new version of Level 2 as you’re supporting your local cafes, restaurants and bars. Get out there, enjoy it safely - we are fortunate we can now go out and support our eateries.”
At Yours with Visa Wellington On a Plate Press Release - 31 August 2021
New Wellington food directory ‘better than Google’
Wellingtonians tired of cooking can now easily find the food they’re craving with the relaunch of At Yours, the region-wide directory of eateries offering takeaway meals and delivery at Level 3.
Brought to you by the team behind Visa Wellington On a Plate, supported by WellingtonNZ, At Yours is a comprehensive online directory of food businesses in Wellington city, Hutt Valley, Porirua, Kāpiti and Wairarapa that provide meals and other products via contactless delivery or click and collect during Level 3.
At Yours was believed to be the first directory of its kind in New Zealand when it first launched in April 2020 in response to the country’s first lockdown.
Relaunching at 5pm on 31 August on the VisaWOAP.com website, At Yours is a one-stop shop for Wellington’s hospitality community and local foodies keen to support local businesses.
With maps geo-tagged to a user’s location, At Yours makes it easy for households to find local suppliers and producers offering a range of goods including takeaways, ready-meals, meal-kits, local produce and beverages and more.
Sarah Meikle, Chief Executive of Wellington Culinary Events Trust, the organisers behind Visa Wellington On a Plate, says her team were ready to support the industry, and were already thinking ahead to At Yours for when the drop to Level 3 came along.
“Hospitality was hit hard once again by the sudden nature of this lockdown - and it hurt a bit more this year as it came during one of the industry’s busiest times: in the middle of Visa Wellington On a Plate.
“We immediately started communicating with business owners on how we could support them. One way we could was by relaunching At Yours. The industry really embraced the initiative as it worked so well for them last year.
“All they have to do is update their site information for their listings, so it’s easy, doesn’t require too much for them to do, and we’ll do the rest to get the word out. As a one-stop-shop, which is customised to optimise accurate, easily accessible information around business' services at Level 3, I think we’re giving Google a run for its money.”
At Yours currently features more than 100 registered eateries as well as food and beverage suppliers, but experience suggests that number will grow.
Last year, more than 400 food and beverage businesses across the Greater Wellington region were listed on At Yours. Consumers were quick to use the site with a daily average of 1,500 users, and more than 38,000 users visiting over the three weeks of Alert Level 3.
At Yours is made possible thanks to WellingtonNZ. Chief Executive, John Allen, says At Yours is a proven way to directly support the hospitality community severely impacted not just with the latest lockdown but by the pandemic in general.
“At Yours is a tangible way to support the hospitality sector that underpins so much of what makes Wellington such a vibrant place to visit and work. It also has the added benefit of supporting other businesses such as local food and beverage producers.”
Restaurant Association National President, Mike Egan, welcomes the relaunch of At Yours.
“Circumstances have conspired so that we again have to pull together to help the industry get through lockdown and At Yours will certainly play its part. You’ll be able to access your favourite meals from your favourite eateries via delivery or click and collect. I know many eateries will look forward to being part of that.”
Owner of craft beer bar and eatery, LBQ, and new inner city fillery, Monkfish, Stacey Walsh, says At Yours was a great initiative to support local, saying it worked well for the industry last year, and would do the same in 2021. “It’s awesome we can rely on a platform like this, which acts as a hospo directory for consumers under lockdown circumstances. Level changes can be confusing for the public - people forget what you’re allowed to do, and At Yours also acts as a reminder that they can get takeaways, deliveries and contactless pick up. It makes it easy for us to connect with them.”
Registration is free and open to any cafe, restaurant, takeaway, caterer, food and beverage producer or supplier in the greater Wellington region. There are no ongoing costs and no commission charged but businesses are asked to keep their details up to date.
At Yours is brought to you by the foodies at Visa Wellington On a Plate and presented in partnership with WellingtonNZ.
At Yours with Visa Wellington On a Plate will be launching at 5pm on 31 August, to coincide with the lockdown drop to Level 3. Find out more here www.VisaWOAP.com/atyours.
Stay safe. Stay at home. Be kind and support local.
Media release for immediate use - embargoed until 10am, 1 June 2021
Much to celebrate as 2021 Visa Wellington On a Plate takes the Capital “Out of Place”
The Southern Hemisphere’s largest culinary festival, Visa Wellington On a Plate (Visa WOAP) is taking Kiwi diners “out of place” in 2021 with a booming Festival programme of chef collaborations, themed culinary events, dining experiences, classes and pop-ups - including a “super bumper culinary weekend”, which will be sure to draw in seasoned foodies from all over the country.
The 2021 Festival theme, a creative angle chosen by Visa WOAP organisers to give restaurants and eateries inspiration for their offerings across the month-long festival, is Out of Place. The theme has seen a multitude of Festival events and dishes incorporating international flavours and influences in the absence of long-haul travel, and will see diners enjoy cuisines from around the world - from Korea to Syria, Paris to the Pacific Islands.
The concept of ‘time’ also features heavily in the Festival Events programme, with acclaimed restaurant, Shepherd cruising on the Interislander around Wellington harbour while recreating the golden age of travel, Daisy’s are celebrating New Zealand’s most original foodie Aunt Daisy, Rita draws inspiration from the tradition of early settlers making do with their event Colonial Goose, and Katherine Mansfield’s childhood home will host guests at event celebrating dining of bygone eras.
The must-do weekend is 13-15 August, when foodies around the country can experience the height of culinary nirvana, with New Zealand’s premier festival of good beer, Beervana on Friday and Saturday, and Dine Wellington and Garage Project Presents Burger Wellington crossing-over, giving visitors and locals the ultimate taste experience.Festival Director and CE, Sarah Meikle, said, “Fifty percent of visitors who come to Wellington for Beervana are from out-of-town so the opportunity to take part in every part of Visa Welly On a Plate and Beervana will be a huge drawcard for the Wellington region. It’s never been done before, and we are excited to be able to deliver the most sensational
Ms. Meikle said last year’s Visa WOAP shifted to October due to the Coronavirus pandemic, had aided the region’s hospitality industry, saying, “Visa Wellington On a Plate contributes significantly to the local economy with an annual injection of approximately $5.8M, and last year saw an increase of 3% in Festival event ticket sales. It made us very proud to see Wellingtonians and visitors consciously get behind an industry that had been struggling from the results of the lockdown and level changes.
“This year, we’re once again blown away by one of the strongest Festival programmes we’ve ever seen, and are very excited for people to get out and experience it all - especially that middle Festival weekend, which is basically the Super Bowl for food and drink!”
Visa WOAP has also introduced a new brand this year, incorporating the “plate of curiosity” into their logo as the ultimate showcase of culinary art and dining excitement, and have also adapted the Dine Wellington programme to encourage restaurants to look to the region - its history, topography, weather, people and personal experiences of the Capital - as inspiration behind their Festival dishes and menus, so diners can literally enjoy Wellington on a plate.
Festival Event tickets go on Visa Pre-sale for Visa cardholders (debit and credit) from midday on 14 June to midnight on 16 June, with General Release tickets on sale from 21 June at www.VisaWOAP.com.
Notes to media
The Wellington Culinary Events Trust is a not-for-profit trust established in 2014 to run iconic New Zealand events including Visa Wellington On a Plate, Beervana and Highball. Visa has been the principal supporter of the festival since 2010.
Dates for Visa Wellington On a Plate run from 1-31 August 2021 with the following format:
- Dine Wellington 1-15 August
- Garage Project presents Burger Wellington 13-31 August
- Cocktail Wellington and Festival Events run all month long
- Beervana 13+14 August