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See wok action at the Beijing Cultural Festival

See the wok action at the Beijing Cultural Festival

The Michael Fowler Centre will sizzle with the sound of hot woks this Saturday and Sunday when 30 Beijing chefs take over the Renouf Foyer for public cooking demonstrations.

The demonstrations and foodmarket are free events being held as part of the Beijing Cultural Festival, which kicks off in Wellington tomorrow (Thursday 8 November).

Ten woks will be on the go and chefs will also be preparing cold dishes. There will be snack food available for free sampling and other food to buy. Some dishes have an Olympic theme, such as “Dragon Flying High Over White Clouds Awaiting the Olympics” – in other words, fresh prawn on an egg and water chestnut base.

More than 100 performers, artists and chefs direct from China are in town and the week-long festival is an opportunity for Wellingtonians to experience the artistic culture and cuisine and taste the excitement of a city preparing for the 2008 Olympic Games. Two of the festival events have a Games theme – the Beijing Olympics Family Showcase and New Beijing – Great Olympics Exhibition.

Wellington City Council’s Director of City Services and Events, Derek Fry, says the festival has been a year in the planning – ever since Mayor Kerry Prendergast visited Beijing last year. Beijing became a Sister City with Wellington last year.

Thirty top chefs will be presenting the best of Chinese cuisine at two Beijing Cuisine Gala Nights, on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 November. These will be held at the Grand Century Restaurant in Tory Street and entertainment will be provided by Chinese folk performers. The diners will go into a prize draw for a trip to Beijing in 2008. Tickets for a nine-course meal with wine cost $100 a head, and are available from the Council.

One of the festival highlights will be the Beijing Olympics Family Showcase on Sunday 11 November. This will be an exciting large-scale family show featuring singing, dancing, a fashion show and Chinese folk music performances. The showcase is on at the Westpac St James Theatre. Tickets, from Ticketek, cost $15 adult, $8 child and $40 for a family (two adults, two children).

The festival also features a number of free events, including an exhibition of Chinese printing and calligraphy on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 November, at the Michael Fowler Centre. The Michael Fowler Centre is also hosting the free exhibition New Beijing – Great Olympics from 8 to 15 November. This is a photography show, featuring images of Beijing.


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