Chefs support fundraiser for kids’ unique learning facility
8 August 2012
Chefs support fundraiser for kids’ “unique” learning facility
Six leading New Zealand chefs are joining forces to create a celebratory spring feast to raise funds for the Garden to Table Trust.
Al Brown, Des Harris, Michael Meredith, Natalia Schamroth, Jonny Schwass and Nic Watt  are each preparing one course at a glittering gala dinner being held at Auckland’s St Matthew in the City on 30 August.
“The Garden to Table initiative is brilliant,” says chef and father Al Brown.
“The concept of children learning how to grow, harvest and cook fruit and vegetables is, in my view, nearly as important as learning how to count and spell.
“Unless our children understand one of life's most simple principles - that we must grow to eat - then what goodness is there in life?
“The concept connects our kids to the joys and rewards of pure and unadulterated produce, and how it actually gets to our plate,” Brown says. “Importantly it also steers children on to the right path when it comes to sensible eating, health and well-being.”
In addition to the six chefs, Masterchef winner Nadia Lim is creating canapés and songstress Boh Runga is to do a special live performance.
Every dish is being matched to a wine from a leading NZ vineyard and radio and television personalities Jim Mora and Tony Murrell are acting as hosts on the night.
The Garden to Table Trust aims to raise $100,000 on the night through ticket sales and a charity auction to help fund a 1500 square metre organic vegetable garden and kitchen classroom facility in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter precinct.
Construction on the landmark inner city garden, Garden to Table at Wynyard Quarter, is due to commence shortly. The completed facility will be used to teach up to 600 local primary school children each week how to grow, harvest, prepare and share good food.
Garden to Table was established in New Zealand in 2008 and is modelled on Australia’s successful Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. It provides children with a curriculum-integrated food education programme designed to set them up for life.
As well as growing and cooking their own food in specialised gardens and kitchens, the children also learn how to look after animals such as chickens and pigs and some have access to fresh honey from beehives on the school grounds.
Currently there are 10 schools involved in the programme spread between Auckland and Queenstown.
Trust founder Catherine Bell says Garden to Table at Wynyard Quarter is a unique facility for NZ children and a wonderful resource for Auckland residents.
A purpose built kitchen classroom will also provide a unique events venue as well as much-needed headquarters for the trust.
 Al Brown (Depot, Logan Brown), Des Harris (Clooney), Michael Meredith (Merediths), Natalia Schamroth (The Engine Room), Jonny Schwass (Gorilla, Christchurch) and Nic Watt (formerly of Roka, London)
Tickets to the gala dinner are $230 per person. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for ticket sales.
When: 7.30pm, Thursday 30 August 2012
Where: St Matthew in the City, Auckland CBD
Why: Fundraiser to establish Garden to Table at Wynyard Quarter
Ticket sales: email@example.com
For further information visit http://www.facebook.com/#!/garden2table
the Garden to Table Trust
The Garden to Table Trust is a charitable organisation that operates a programme in New Zealand schools where children aged between seven and 10 learn about good food. The youngsters are taught how to grow, harvest, prepare and share food using purpose-built gardens and kitchen facilities.
Through its programme the trust educates children about food, horticulture and their natural environment, primarily to positively influence their food choices. As a consequence they learn about the environment and sustainability and enrich their curriculum subjects through hands-on learning. The programme also has many positive spin-offs for family and community life.
The trust was co-founded in 2008 by food writer Catherine Bell. It is modelled on Australia’s successful and well documented Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program.