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Kiwi passions showcased at Malaysian hotel gala

News release
May 20, 2008

Twin Kiwi passions showcased at Malaysian hotel gala event

A top chef and wine expert from Christchurch’s Millennium Hotel are heading to Malaysia armed with a cache of New Zealand herbs and spices - and a signed All Black jersey and rugby ball.

They’re off to stage a 10-day Taste of New Zealand culinary festival at the newly revamped Grand Millennium Hotel in Kuala Lumpur and are taking the sought-after All Black memorabilia with them so it can be auctioned at a special gala dinner on May 22.

The gala dinner will be attended by key Malaysian business people, political leaders, media, and New Zealand’s high commissioner to Malaysia, David Kersey, with money raised during the charity auction going towards helping the victims of the devastating Myanmar cyclone.

Millennium Hotel Christchurch restaurant manager, Chris Davies, who will be in Kuala Lumpur along with executive chef Mat Jones, says Malaysians are rugby mad.

“The ball and jersey signed by all the team will be greatly prized in the lead up to the Bledisloe Cup match in Hong Kong. Malaysians are very keen on rugby and the All Blacks are their favourite team.

“A lot of aid for Myanmar has been coming through Malaysia and this event presents an ideal opportunity for New Zealanders to help the cyclone victims there,” he says.

When Jones and wine expert Chris Davies leave Christchurch for Malaysia they will also be carrying with them a precious cargo of indigenous spices, herbs and liqueurs.

Chris Davies’ basket of goodies – all carefully labelled to ensure no border security issues – will include Kiwifruit liqueur, Titoki fennel liqueur, kawakawa, piko piko after which the Millennium Christchurch’s signature restaurant Piko Piko is named.

Davies says a good selection of the freshest New Zealand produce is available in central KL in the famous Chow Kit market. “Even our smoked eel is found there, as well as salmon, cervena venison, and New Zealand lamb cuts.

Mat Jones says the Taste of New Zealand festival is a chance to showcase not only New Zealand as a destination, but to use all these ingredients with flair.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to source and cook New Zealand produce in a new market.

“We are presenting a selection of contemporary New Zealand dishes made with indigenous ingredients and infused with traditional and international culinary influences. It will be something quite new and fresh for Malaysian diners and a chance for them to see how these flavours work,” he says.

New Zealand wine exporters Pernod Ricard and Lion Nathan Wines and Spirits are coming to the table too, with a selection of New Zealand’s top wines, all available in Malaysia. New Zealand’s distinctive regional varieties of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Reisling will all be served with a five, six or seven-course degustation menu at highly sought-after tables of 10. The hotel’s popular buffet will also become a New Zealand extravaganza through the 10 day festival in the 160-seat The Mill restaurant. While Mat cooks in the kitchen, Chris will be front of house, presenting each dish to guests and explaining its origins and the wine match with each.

Theming for the event will resonate with New Zealand flavours. One table will be totally All Black and themed with memorabilia, another will showcase New Zealand wine, and a third will triumph Kiwiana with paua shells, buzzy bees, and woolly sheep.

The Grand Millennium is celebrating its makeover to a deluxe hotel in the heart of Malaysian capital by inviting a series of top chefs from around the world to contribute to an international culinary series. New Zealand was chosen first and the Taste of New Zealand food and wine festival is being run by a team from the Grand Millennium’s sister hotel, Millennium Hotel Christchurch.

- Ends -

© Scoop Media

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