Hospitality operators Cooking Up A Storm to fundraise –

Hospitality businesses across the country are joining together to host New Zealand’s biggest dinner party in support of those impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Masterminded by renowned chef, Al Brown and supported by the Restaurant Association, the ‘cooking up a storm’ event is due to be hosted in establishments nationwide on Monday, March 20, with 80 restaurants and 1000 participants to date.

Doors will open across the country from 6.30pm with dinner served at 7.00pm.

Restaurants keen to take part will create their own two course menu for a set price of $69 with $46 from each sale going directly to the Mayoral Relief Funds. Among the list of participants who have signed up for the initiative are: –

  • Eat Drink Laugh
  • SPQR
  • Sherwood
  • Cazador
  • Maranui Café
  • Galbraith’s Alehouse
  • Movida
  • Ebisu
  • Azabu Mission Bay
  • The Backbencher Gastropubs
  • Depot
  • Cotto

A portion of the proceeds will also go directly to hospitality whanau impacted by recent weather events.

“We are trying to create the country’s biggest ever dinner party with the whole hospitality community coming together to do good and help those in need,” said Al Brown.

Al’s vision for menus is about simplicity, focusing on favorites and comfort food to nurture the nation’s soul through its stomachs.

“It’s one sitting, with a two course set menu, just like you were coming around to a friend’s place for dinner.

“It’s about comfort food and bringing like-minded people around a table for the evening. Essentially, we’re emulating what is happening in the affected regions, where sitting around a table and having a kai, is bringing people together to support, listen and be there for each other.

“I know times are still bloody tough for many in our beloved hospitality industry, but we still need to think about others and the role we play in the community.

“Let’s show that as a whole industry we can help make a difference and give back in a meaningful way.”

Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois added “when we saw the devastation caused to so many people from the cyclone, so many of our members wanted to help out. Hospitality is what we do best so when Al came to us with this idea, it seemed like the perfect way for us to give back.”

A recent survey by the Restaurant Association showed that 92% of respondents were affected by the recent weather.

Sixty-five per cent have been forced to close their doors and 25% remain closed.

Of those respondents to the survey, 69 per cent have seen a significant downturn in trade, particularly in the most affected areas.

Twenty-nine per cent of respondents have experienced material damage to their business as a result of the recent flooding and cyclone.

“It’s clear that the recent weather has caused widespread issues to the country and to our businesses,” said CEO Marisa Bidois. “But hosting people is what we do best, so we’re looking forward to welcoming people into our establishments again whilst also helping to support those who have been impacted.”

Restaurants keen to be involved can register at

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