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NZ Pavilion at Expo 2020 to host culinary festival

DUBAI, January 6, 2022

Taste New Zealand, a culinary showcase of the nation’s food and beverage offering, will take place at Expo 2020 Dubai from January 13-31. 
 
The three-week event will be led by visiting chefs Sid Sahrawat and Kārena and Kasey Bird, as well as Dubai-based Jesse Blake, who will showcase their gastronomic skills and spotlight New Zealand’s premium ingredients for visitors to enjoy.
 
During the festival, food enthusiasts can partake in a mix of ticketed and first-come, first-serve kitchen demonstration pop-ups and curated lunches and dinners at the country’s pavilion restaurant, Tiaki.
 
Sahrawat, who will be at Taste New Zealand from January 13-18, has spent many years making his mark on the dining scene in Auckland with acclaimed restaurants Sidart (recently sold), Cassia and Sid at The French Café. He is renowned for his inspirational cooking and combining contemporary cuisine with traditional Indian flavours.
 
He said: “I am really looking forward to being at Expo 2020 and am very proud to be able to show the world my own take on sourcing and cooking with New Zealand ingredients. It’s a moment for us to showcase how our country has some of the best produce, which is grown and produced with care and consideration – resulting in excellent taste and quality.”
 
In celebration of Taste New Zealand, Sahrawat has created a special dish - Hawkes Bay lamb chops with Horopito crème fraiche - that will feature on the Tiaki menu. The grass-fed lamb is complemented by Horopito, a native plant with a peppery taste. 
 
He will also be teaming up with Dubai-based Sommelier Lindsay Trivers from The Tasting Class to deliver a Culinary Tour of New Zealand on January 14, taking diners on a journey around the nation’s regions with four dishes and beverage matches.
 
Sisters and MasterChef New Zealand winners Kārena and Kasey Bird will be present from January 26-31. Having grown up in the beachside community of Maketu – a place where members come together to grow and source fresh, seasonal produce – the Birds have turned their passion for cooking into bright careers, giving them a platform to create dishes that celebrate their Māori whakapapa and upbringing.
 
“Food, beverage, and manaaki are such a huge part of the culture in New Zealand. We are excited to be a part of a global event like Expo 2020 Dubai, where we can bring our own experiences to life through curated events and special moments,” said Kārena Bird.
 
Kasey Bird added: “We hope to leave Dubai with a lasting understanding about New Zealand’s connection to the land and sea and what makes the nation so special.”
 
Alongside a Mystery Box cooking challenge and demonstration kitchen, the sisters have created a Matariki Degustation Lunch, inspired by the story of a star cluster that signals the beginning of the Māori New Year. This ticketed event will be accompanied by cultural storytelling and entertainment.
 
The sisters' special dish – Mānuka Smoked Beef – will also feature on Tiaki’s menu while they are at the Expo, allowing guests to experience a modern take on the Hāngī – the centuries-old method of cooking food in a pit oven underground.
 
Jesse Blake, the Executive Chef behind Dubai concept Lowe, will also be partaking in Taste New Zealand from January 19-25. Born and bred in Aotearoa New Zealand, the chef has made waves with his creative, produce-driven approach on a global scale, which he will be sharing with visitors at Expo 2020.
 
Blake said: “As a Kiwi who has been living and working overseas for more than 10 years, I can’t wait to represent my home on the world stage at Taste New Zealand. Having the opportunity to cook with top New Zealand produce within the setting of the Pavilion at Expo 2020 is pretty special and I hope diners connect with the culinary essence of Aotearoa through my dish.”
 
Tiaki restaurant is central to New Zealand’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, underpinning the nation’s role as a producer of premium-quality food and beverage products to millions of people in more than 140 countries.
 
Clayton Kimpton, New Zealand’s Commissioner-General to Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Food and beverage is New Zealand’s main export sector and bringing Taste New Zealand to the Expo is a great opportunity to showcase our premium products on a global platform – and to bring our pavilion’s theme of Care for People and Place to life.
 
"It is the care inspired by the unique connection our people have with the land and sea that enables us to turn our natural advantage into outstanding food and beverages. Care is what drives us to produce tasty, premium quality, safe, nutritious and ethical food.”-TradeArabia News Service



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