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The inaugural Wellington On a Plate festival cooked up a recipe for success that has seen applications for the 2010 festival more than double.
Applications for this year’s festival – running from August 14-29 – closed on Friday, with 95 events submitted, 85 restaurants registering for the centrepiece event DINE Wellington and 35 businesses signing up for the new Burger Wellington competition. An extension of DINE, Burger Wellington will see participating restaurants serve burgers that reflect the style of their restaurant using regional ingredients. The best burger will be ruled by customer vote.
Wellington On a Plate was established by Grow Wellington and Positively Wellington Tourism last year to showcase the city’s food and beverage sector and develop culinary tourism in the capital. The 2009 festival featured 42 restaurants and 30 events – far in excess of forecasts of 12 and three respectively.
Festival co-director Sarah Meikle says this year’s applications will be considered against Wellington On a Plate’s vision to celebrate regional cuisine and put something special on the table.
“The quality of events that have been submitted is incredible. We don’t expect to have to turn many away – but it’s important we serve up a festival that showcases new and special experiences.”
Participating restaurants reported between 20-60% increases in lunchtime covers during DINE Wellington when compared with the same period in 2008, and a number of the festival’s 30 events sold out within days of the programme being released.
Applications are now being processed, with businesses due to be informed late next week if they will be on the menu. The Wellington On a Plate 2010 programme will be launched at the start of July. Keep an eye on www.WellingtonOnaPlate.com for details or sign up to be in the KNOW at www.WellingtonNZ.com/KNOW_Wellington.
Positively Wellington Tourism (regional tourism organisation) and Grow Wellington (regional economic development agency) established the Wellington On a Plate festival in 2009 to showcase the city’s food and beverage sector, and to develop culinary tourism in the capital. The two organisations plan and market the event in liaison with the food sector and hospitality industry. It’s an unusual management format as neither organisation usually gets involved in event management, but we wanted to make it happen and we were the only ones mad enough to try and pull it off in the midst of an economic downturn. Luckily it worked.
Notes for Editors
Wellington On a Plate 2010 will run from August 14-29.
Punters will be anything but starved for choice during Wellington On a Plate 2010. In 2009, 42 restaurants participated in the DINE Wellington event and 30 events took place under the Wellington On a Plate festival banner. This was far in excess of our expectations; targets had been set at 12 restaurants and three festival events respectively. The programme will be revealed at the start of July.
The 2009 festival was a resounding social and economic success. Many events sold out and restaurants reported between 20-60% increases in lunch covers over the festival period compared to the same month the previous year.
A survey of 2009 restaurant participants showed almost half were using new local suppliers as a result of the festival and the relationships it had fostered.