A dozen renowned chefs; a mystery box cooking challenge using local and garden-picked ingredients; a bespoke outdoor kitchen; a locally grown “picking pantry”: Grow Ō Tautahi Food Ambassador Jax Hamilton is inspiring visitors to look to their gardens to ignite their cooking.
Jax will run the MacRae Landscape Design Garden Kitchen over the three days of Grow Ō Tautahi – Christchurch’s free Garden Festival in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens from 20-22 March 2020.
Each day of the Festival, four new chefs will be challenged to create culinary delights from a mystery box of fresh, vegan or vegetarian ingredients – no meat or fish – and what they can pick themselves from surrounding gardens. Visitors will glimpse into the creative minds of professional chefs and take away ideas and inspiration for their own dinner plates.
“You really don’t need a lot of space to grow a few herbs and ingredients that can put a ping on your plate,” Jax says. “I want to share my food philosophy of ‘straight from your garden to your table’. A lot of the time we don’t know where our food comes from – but with a little inspiration I think we can encourage a healthier approach to cooking.”
Jax is excited to take on the role of Grow Ō Tautahi Food Ambassador and bring something special to her home town. “Christchurch has had a rough time in recent years,” she says. “Grow is exactly what we need – it’s about making the most of the space you have to make a real difference in your life.”
Like many people involved in the Festival’s first year, Jax’s role as Food Ambassador started with the seed of a conversation and has grown since. “I’m excited to be doing something in my city, for my city and the Festival is only going to get better. Grow is about more than gardening – it has a focus on sustainability and the future of our environment. My role is about translating that approach to the plate; teaching people about where their food comes from and how they can bring their garden to their table.”
Jax will lead the cooking demonstrations and help audiences engage with top chefs from around Christchurch and the South Island. “I’ve been blown away by the generosity of the chefs I’ve asked to take part. Most people will recognise the names and I’m truly excited to see what they create.”
Included in the cooking demonstrations are: Kaikoura Cheese’s Daniel Jenkins, Alex Davies of Gatherings, Inati’s Simon Levy, Flip Grater, Jackie Hendricks from Asiatique, Fleur Sullivan of Fleurs Place, Simo Abbari, Town Tonic’s Jamie Bennett, The Monday Room’s Eeva Torvinen, Jonny Schwass at Ilex Cafe, the Two Raw Sisters Margo and Rosa, and GiulioSturla.
“All of our chefs will cook in a bespoke outdoor kitchen designed by the award-winning Davinia Sutton – we’re so lucky to have her involved; she has a real sparkle, like so many people around the Grow table.”
A full programme of demonstrations and times will be available on the Grow website www.growotautahi.org.nzbefore the festival opens. Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for more insights and behind-the-scenes planning with Jax.
Grow Ō Tautahi, 20-22 March 2020
Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
For more information contact:
+64 21 2388 938