Wellington on a Plate (WOAP), an annual food festival in Wellington, New Zealand is a winter-warming two-week extravagance of all things food and beverage. The festival glorifies gastronomic delights with the tastiest foods from all over the region. Visa Wellington On a Plate was organised across various venues in Wellington from August 10-26, 2018.
This year at the festival, delicacies from across India were introduced by The Temple Celebration at the One80 restaurant in collaboration with Nalini Baruch, co-owner, Lot Eight, a home-grown enterprise dealing in premium virgin extra olive oils. She was accompanied by Chetan Pangam, executive chef, One80 Restaurant (Copthorne Hotel Wellington). With origins in Karnataka, Chef Chetan worked as a chef at some of the most luxurious hotels in Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi before bringing the flavours of India to New Zealand in 2002.
The Temple Celebration was Baruch’s effort to introduce an experience and a new dimension to WOAP events on its 10th anniversary. She says, “The idea was to provide a taste of India and to build on this concept for the future, to bring different aspects of what makes India such an attractive country.”
The entire festivities were an amalgamation of culture and cuisine, incorporating traditional aspects into the contemporary setting. The food serving style and presentation by Chef Chetan embraced some of the temple practises inspired from across North, South, East, West and Central India. He says, “My team of chefs that helped me create the magic come from a varied background. True to our ethos of progressive Indian French cuisine, the delicacies were prepared using some of the best ingredients from New Zealand.”
Baruch is a pioneer in the New Zealand olive oil industry and co-owner of arguably the leading producer of olive oil in the Greater Wellington Region. She was awarded the 2016 Pacific Woman in Business Award at the National Pacific Business Trust Awards dinner in Auckland.
Today, Wellington dubbed the world’s ‘coolest little capital’ continues to have a strong Indian community which is seen through participation in local sport, music, art and varied range of cultural festivals. Almost 10 per cent of Wellington residents are Indian, meaning the city has the second biggest Indian population in New Zealand.