Edible adventures popular at awards






Tauranga pop-up restaurant Kitchen Takeover scooped two major gongs at the New Zealand Events Association awards in Hastings. The edible-adventure specialists, founded by Stacey Jones in 2018, won the Best Arts or Cultural Event 2021 for Taiao: Food of the Gods, a collaboration with Maketu¯ -based celebrity chefs Karena and Kasey Bird. Against a record 108 entries, Kitchen Takeover then completed a notable double by heading off three South Island events — the Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival, the Wa¯naka Wine and Food Festival and the Wanaka A and P Show — to win the Best Lifestyle Event 2021 with Eat Your Memories. “To be nominated in two categories was one thing against such notable competition but to then win both is simply amazing,” said Stacey Jones. “Kitchen Takeover was born with a clear goal in mind — to create unforgettable, out-of-the-box, edible experiences for foodies on the hunt for an adventure — and we’re absolutely delighted to have taken so many people on this journey with us.” Taiao: Food of the Gods drew inspiration from the Bird siblings’ whakapapa and upbringing, celebrating the Ma¯ori deities of the natural world through a six-course degustation dinner, and the sisters were delighted to share in the success. “Both Kasey and I are deeply passionate about bringing our whakapapa to life through edible storytelling,” said Karena Bird. “We loved working in collaboration with the Kitchen Takeover team on this event, so it’s amazing to be recognised with this award.” Eat Your Memories took diners back in time to devour their fondest food memories, from the edible sand in the fish and chips, to the Mum I dropped my ice cream dessert, every mouthful told a story. Stacey Jones also paid tribute to her chefs Shane Yardley and Rob Forsman, as well as her wider team.