Each year something wonderful happens at the Kingsgate Hotel in Hamilton. It happens with very little fuss and almost no publicity but it is an event that I believe should be held up as an example of what can be done when everyone pitches in. That is not to down play the huge effort put in by the organisers Fred and Yvonne Phillips.
Now in its eighth year the Rotary Chefs Night Out was this Rotarian couples brainchild and steadily grown. Last Sunday night I enjoyed my 3rd Chefs Night Out along with over two hundred other guests. I am lucky enough each year to enjoy the night while also getting a glimpse (as official photographer) at the workings behind the scenes. But what we see on the night is only the start with work on such a big event starts many months before.
Yvonne and Fred need to be congratulated for their vision as well as their hard work to pull so many volunteers, chefs, wineries and suppliers all together. As a past caterer and event manager I know only too well the work involved!
We arrived a little late this year and this meant missing out on Andrew Clarke, from Victoria Street Bistro’s canapés. The smoked duck and peanut butter piklets I hear were a huge hit! Served with Waikato’s own Vilagrads Sparking Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2011, there was also Parmesan polenta with pickled walnut salad and Scampi arancini.
Our third course, and yes we are not even half way through yet, was Fuir Kaki crusted Hapuka with a wild rice salad and Aji Amarillo sauce. Created by the Kingsgate’s own chef Arun Mani and served with Lane’s End Waikato Voignier 2011 it was simply delicious.
Our fifth course was simply called Meat and Three Veg. Sky City Chef Phil Ryan served a take on the traditional meat and three veg with a compresses beef square, beef croquette, fondant potato, peas, pickled carrots and horseradish cream. This was matched with Turanga Creek Signature Syrah 2011.
And to finish Kerry Wilson from Furnace served a light and delicious Key Lime Meringue which was just perfect after having devoured 7 other courses. The wine match was Vilagrads Golden Sherry.
The majority of the funds raised by the Hamilton Rotary from the Chefs Night Out are donated to Hospice Waikato with the balance going to local Rotary programmes.
A huge thanks has to go to all those involved in putting such an event together! This includes the chefs and their teams, the wineries, Kingsgate Hotel, ALSCO, Curnow Tizard, Hamilton Wine Company and all the volunteers involved, from those who served the food and poured the wine to those who set the tables and washed the thousands of plates.