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New Zealand Food And Wine Showcased

New Zealand Food And Wine Showcased At Prestigous Conference Of Culinary Professionals

Auckland, April 11, 2002 -- New Zealand food and wine will be showcased in the United States next week at a dinner for some of America’s top culinary professionals.

The dinner is being held on the eve of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) 24th conference, in San Diego, California, on April 16, and will be hosted by New Zealander Lauraine Jacobs, the President of the IACP and the first non-American to hold the position in 25 years.

Lauraine Jacobs is Senior Food Editor and Chief Reviewer for Cuisine Magazine, the author of several culinary books, and writes regularly about the hospitality industry.

The President’s Dinner is held each year the night before the conference begins and is attended by members of the IACP Board of Directors, which includes top culinary professionals from around the world. Trade New Zealand is supporting the event and has helped organise a uniquely Kiwi menu for guests to enjoy.

New Zealand produce will include cheeses, John Dory, Green Shell Mussels, cape gooseberries, Cervena, passion fruit and wines provided by Montana (full menu attached). The dinner will be prepared by chef Bernard Guillas at the Marine Room Restaurant in La Jolla.

Trade New Zealand has also arranged for those attending the dinner to receive gifts with a New Zealand flavour, including a woven kete.

Lauraine Jacobs says both the dinner and her term as IACP President have been important opportunities to raise New Zealand’s culinary profile in the United States.

She says most of the IACP’s 4000 members knew nothing about New Zealand before her presidency but she has taken every opportunity to promote the ‘fantastic food and wine’ available here.

“New Zealand food definitely has more flavour and taste than American food, partly because of our clean, fresh air and water and partly because it doesn’t have to be transported vast distances to reach its markets,” Ms Jacobs says.

In addition to writing regularly about New Zealand in IACP publications over the past year, Lauraine Jacobs last year hosted a highly successful tour of IACP members to Marlborough and South Australia.

Because the tour took place shortly after the September 11 tragedy, numbers were lower than anticipated, but Ms Jacobs says the group had a wonderful time and took away very positive impressions of New Zealand’s food and wine.

Trade New Zealand’s General Manager Marketing Rod MacKenzie, until recently our Senior Trade Commissioner in the US, says Lauraine Jacob’s term as President of the IACP has been ‘not just an important personal honour, but an honour for New Zealand as well’.

“Lauraine has taken every opportunity to promote our finest foods and beverages to IACP members,” Mr MacKenzie says.

IACP is a not-for-profit association that provides training and development for professionals working in culinary education, communication or in the preparation of food and drink. Its membership includes chefs, caterers, food columnists, food marketers and representatives of major food companies.

It has members from over 35 countries and is regarded as a ‘who’s who’ of the food world.

As well has enjoying a high profile at the President’s Dinner New Zealand food will be a focus for discussion at a number of conference sessions. Around 26 New Zealand culinary professionals belong to the IACP and three of them have been invited to take part in panel presentations.

This includes Catherine Bell from Epicurean Workshop in Auckland who will talk about the use of coriander in Asia and the Pacific, London-based cooking writer and stylist Clare Ferguson who will join a panel discussing ‘Fast Food, Slow Food – What’s it All About’ and Bill Floyd from the Mussel Industry Council at a session titled ‘Tomorrow’s Fish & Chips – is the Ocean Half Full or Half Empty?’

The theme of this year’s IACP conference is an examination of how technology, global communication and commerce together with an ever-increasing migration of cultures are changing what we eat and how we eat it.

Trade New Zealand statistics show the US is our second most important trading partner after Australia, with exports worth NZ$4.72 billion being sent to the States in 2001.

Food and beverages, including wine, accounted for nearly 60% of that, earning NZ$2.8 billion.

The volume of New Zealand wine sent to the US is rising and totalled NZ$46.6 million in 2001 - or about 1% of our total exports.

* In a related initiative, this week Trade New Zealand has hosted three eminent Las Vegas casino chefs on a tour of New Zealand. The seven-day tour is another important part of Trade New Zealand’s strategy to build food and beverage exports to the US.

ENDS

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