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Taste of New Zealand First Line Up Announced!

Annabel Langbein, the face of Taste of New Zealand

Taste of New Zealand today announced a stellar line up of chefs and celebrities to wow the taste buds of New Zealanders and visitors alike this October.

Billed as the best non-rugby event in New Zealand this year, the Taste of New Zealand Festival will transform Victoria Park into a veritable village of tantalizing restaurants, food and wine experiences, delicious produce and vibrant entertainment, a real treat for Auckland’s Big Little City.

Festival Director Rob Eliott said “this truly is the biggest food event of its kind in the country and visitors can absolutely expect a taste of New Zealand sensation.”

The line-up of talent is led by our most famous cook, Annabel Langbein, joined by a top line-up of chefs including:

The Grove’s Ben Bayly and Michael Dearth; this award winning duo set the standard for top Auckland dining and promise to once again bring something very special from the Pacific Ocean for this year’s Taste menu.

Makoto Tukoyama; the man behind the fabulous new and award winning restaurant Cocoro, a brilliant new venue that picked up three top honours in the latest Metro Audi Restaurant of the Year Awards.

Nick Honeyman from Cru at Sales St; well known for the energy and creativity he throws into his degustation and Next Crew dinners (two of which have been staged in Auckland), Nick is looking forward to the challenge of Taste.

Serial restaurateur Alisdair Gribben (best known for Vivace and La Zeppa) rounds out the first announcement of top chefs at Taste with Marvel Grill – a new offering in the Auckland dining scene which includes their own in-house butcher.

From the spread of restaurants to the Fisher & Paykel Chef’s Kitchen stage – Kelly Young will present for the second year running a schedule of top chefs including The Food Truck’s Michael Van Elzen (also of Molten), Sergio Maglione from Toto, Nici Wickes from Viva & World Kitchen and Paul Jobin of Sky City.

A new participant to the festival this year is the Taste of New Zealand Awards or TONZA – an initiative recognising restaurants that are champions of local produce from around the country.

The TONZA Kitchen lineup includes top Christchurch chef Jonny Schwass, who looks forward to opening up Restaurant Schwass for four days in Auckland since it’s demolition in Christchurch due to the February earthquake. The TONZA Kitchen will also feature dishes from True South (Queenstown), Te Whau (Waiheke) and more exciting venues to be announced.

This arena of culinary delights will be complimented by a stunning soundtrack pulled together by well known impresario Peter Urlich and backed by a fantastic team of musicians.

Annabel Langbein has been named as the face of Taste of New Zealand for 2011 and will be welcoming the VIP Crowd on opening night – Wednesday 19 October.

“I am delighted to be part of New Zealand’s premier food event and to join with thousands of foodies and our most talented chefs and produce suppliers in this celebration of our country’s best food and beverages,” says Annabel.

“I am also proud to be releasing my latest book, Annabel Langbein Free Range in the City, at the opening night of Taste of New Zealand and I look forward to sharing this exciting event with our vibrant, committed and talented foodie community.”

Singapore Airlines has again come to the party as principal sponsor for the third year. says that “an essential part of the Singapore Airlines experience is excellence in the food that we serve – we’re delighted to be able to welcome VIP guests from New Zealand and afar to what we believe is the preeminent food, wine and entertainment event for New Zealand.”

Audi joins the event with a VIP hosting area, staffed by the talented team from Suite Bar – expected to be bursting with local and international celebrities in town for the rugby finals that week.

Some sessions are already close to selling out, with the launch night of Wednesday October 19th already in hot demand. Likewise Saturday 22nd October is highly desirable being the day before the final of the rugby tournament.

Says Rob Eliott: “This is the biggest and best food and drink festival in New Zealand, a must see for everyone and anyone who wants not just an amazing food and wine experience – but a spectacular day or night of entertainment.”

Taste of New Zealand: Wednesday 19 – Saturday 22 October 2011, Victoria Park, Auckland www.tastefestivals.co.nz

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