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Dineaid Phenomenon Launches In New Zealand

October 31, 2008

Dineaid Phenomenon Launches In New Zealand
Restaurants and patrons doing the right thing for Kiwi families

Tomorrow sees the launch of a new global charity concept, driven by top restaurants around the country, to raise money for Kiwi families in need.

Modelled on a hugely successful yet simple idea which began in London 10 years ago and has since rolled out around the UK, the US, South Africa and Australia, DINEAID begins November 1 and runs through to the end of December.

Customers at 150 top restaurants in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown will be asked to add $2 to the bottom of their bill as a donation.

Thanks to the support of founding sponsors Kensington Swan, Mercedes Benz and specialist bread maker Vernerdi, who are covering the administration costs of DINEAID, 100% of the money collected will go directly to charities dedicated to helping NZ families and young people in need including the Auckland and Wellington City Missions, the Foundation for Youth Development’s Kiwi Can, Stars and Project K programmes, and Kidz First Children’s Hospital.

DINEAID is being driven by Mark Gregory, a Kiwi chef who spent 18 years at the top of the British food scene before returning home last year.

He explained: “I’ve been involved with the UK charity STREETSMART, upon which DineAid is based, from the beginning and seen how successful it has become. It has raised more than $9 million since 1998 and is now very much a Christmas institution in the UK. It’s a simple concept and a painless way of sharing your good fortune and enjoyment of good food and wine.

“When I came home to New Zealand, it struck me how well this concept would work here. Timed as the lead-up to Christmas, it comes at a time of year when we all reflect on how lucky we are to live, and dine out, in such a great country.

“This first year, we’ll focus on restaurants in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, but next year we’ll look to expand to key centres around the country – opening up the opportunity for local charities in those areas to directly benefit from money raised in their communities.

“So many wonderful chefs and restaurants are on board – In Auckland, we have The French Café, Antoine’s, Euro, Meredith’s, Prego, Rocco, Q , Clooneys, Orbit, dine by Peter Gordon and 8.2 in Birkenhead amongst dozens of others.

“In Wellington, we have Citron, Shed 5, Boulcott Street Bistro, The White House and Logan Browns, in Christchurch there’s Restaurant Johnnie Schwass and Cooking With Gas while in Queenstown, we have Captains and Pier 19.

“Some of the highest profile chefs in each city have spearheaded support, which has really pushed the campaign along.” A full list of participating restaurants is available on

NZ star chef Peter Gordon, of The Providores in London and dine by Peter Gordon at Skycity, is among a number of high profile Kiwis who have backed the scheme: “DINEAID will make a huge contribution towards families at risk, youth training and mentoring – all for much less than the price of a flat white.
By agreeing to add just $2 to your restaurant bill you’ll be supporting people in need of real help throughout NZ.”

Musician Tim Finn and his wife Marie are also supporting DINEAID:
“At Christmas, we can’t think of a better or more enjoyable way of handing over a little money.”

And broadcaster and wine writer John Hawkesby adds: “DINEAID is a brilliant, easy and simple way of sharing. It won’t break the bank and it will make a difference. You will sleep so much easier….so will someone else.”

One of New Zealand’s most respected food writers, Lauraine Jacobs, food editor of Cuisine, has helped drive DINEAID by writing to restaurateurs encouraging them to take part.

In the UK, STREETSMART has been strongly supported by a galaxy of public figures ranging from celebrity chefs and actors to politicians, writers and .

Mark Gregory, a former New Zealand and British ‘Chef of the Year’, is a highly acclaimed restaurateur and chef , achieving the coveted French culinary status of Meilleur Ouvrier (master craftsman) in 1998. He spent nine years as Executive Chef at the luxury London hotel One Aldwych, one of the most awarded hotels in the English capital with two restaurants, bar, café and private dining rooms

Prior to One Aldwych, Mark opened the Its’u restaurant in London in 1997 which won Best New Asian Restaurant of the Year, overhauled the food performance of Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire which went on to win a clutch of Best Country House Hotel awards, and worked on the opening of two other luxury properties, The Chelsea Hotel and the Metropolitan Hotel.

During his time in London at One Aldwych Mark was a participant in the UK version of DineAid. He is now devoting his spare time to establishing DineAid in New Zealand.

UK Government and celebrity endorsement
StreetSmart, the forerunner of DINEAID, has become a huge success in the UK, receiving acclamation from a broad range of public figures.

"StreetSmart is a great idea; simple, straightforward and innovative, with all the money donated by diners going direct to local charities to help those who need it. Sarah and I are delighted to be associated with StreetSmart and to be able to congratulate everyone involved for giving the rest of us the chance to support the charity's valuable work in tackling homelessness." The Rt Hon Gordon Brown, Prime Minister

“Good food, good wine and good company enrich our lives beyond measure. Most of us don't say Grace these days because we don't know whom to thank for the inestimable pleasures of the table. StreetSmart lets us do a graceful thing. A simple thing. A kind thing.” Stephen Fry, actor, author, director

“StreetSmart has become part of Christmas for us. It is everyone’s chance to do the right thing at the right time with only the gentlest nudge.”
Gordon Ramsay, chef, restaurateur

“All it takes is one well-fed quid next time you’re dining at any of the damned fine establishments taking part in this glorious campaign, and that tiny extra sum will go straight to an excellently worthwhile cause. Go on, it’ll make you feel good about that expanding waistband.”
Ian Rankin, author

`The annual round up of Christmas parties is about to begin, so while tucking into a lovely meal inside a cosy restaurant, spare a thought for those without the luxury of even having a home, who at this time of year, are painfully aware of their situation. Please support this simple scheme, StreetSmart makes a difference ˆ Merry Christmas!!`
Noddy Holder, Slade


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