Why you don’t want to miss this festival-within-a-festival presented by Kenwood at Visa Wellington On a Plate, Saturday 13 May.

At last! A dedicated festival for the food-and-drink category that will unpick the world of content creation and its many diversely delicious layers and can I just say, it’s about damn time. Dedicated to authors, writers, commentators and content creators who all have something to say about food, it’s an opportunity for us to celebrate the incredible craft of these professionals and the evolving food culture that they represent. You will delve with them into the world of recipes, cooking traditions, food-and-drink stories and opportunities within an ever-changing media landscape and I’ll be joined by food writer Lauraine Jacobs, journalist Lucy Corry, business leader Rachel Taulelei, literary programmer and festival maker Claire Mabey and Visa Wellington On a Plate’s Head of Programming Beth Brash, to help me lead the conversation.

Cuisine is excited to be the media partner for New Zealand’s first dedicated food writers’ and content creators’ festival at Visa Wellington On a Plate presented by Kenwood. I’m looking forward to having this terrific lineup of talent under one roof for a lively and valuable discussion about the tremendous potential for the future of our food-and-drink story. I hope you’ll join us for the whole day; as you can see here, there’s a lot to digest.

Kelli Brett
Editor Cuisine


I’m thrilled to be teaming up with one of my favourite Aussie food writers Matthew Evans – also a television broadcaster and chef – who lives and works on Fat Pig Farm in Tasmania, a soil-to-stomach regenerative farm and restaurant. He’s been the host of six series of Gourmet Farmer and two documentaries on SBS TV. Matthew is the author of more than a dozen books on food including On Eating Meat, and his latest cookbook is the updated and revised The Real Food Companion. His book Soil is a hymn to the remarkable and underappreciated bit of Earth that gifts us life. Join Matthew and me as we explore his advocacy for open, fair, accountable food and farming systems.


Join Rachel Taulelei – recently hailed as the Supreme Woman in Food & Drink 2023 by Women In Food & Drink Aotearoa New Zealand – as she takes a look at our unique culinary heritage with Instagram baker extraordinaire Naomi Toilalo and Kārena and Kasey Bird. Naomi was runner-up in TVNZ’s Great Kiwi Bake Off™, has worked for Māori Television as a presenter, actor and director and has released a bilingual cookbook Whānaukai, based on her popular Instagram account. Kārena and Kasey were the winners of MasterChef™ in 2014 and are on the list of Top 50 Women In Food & Drink Aotearoa New Zealand 2023. They have travelled to more than 50 destinations across the globe learning about food and culture, have hosted two seasons of the award-winning series on TVNZ, Kārena and Kasey’s Kitchen Diplomacy and have cooked for a number of New Zealand dignitaries and celebratory events around the world. They have also self-published two award-winning cookbooks For the Love of… and Hungry.


Respected food writer Lauraine Jacobs lines up the cream of our crop for this intriguing topic. Women In Food & Drink Aotearoa New Zealand Hall of Fame 2023 recipient Lois Daish is recognised for her work as food columnist for The Listener for more than 20 years. As well as being a well-known Wellington restaurateur and the author of four recipe books, Lois’ work in the culinary arts has influenced generations of amateur and professional cooks. David Veart is a freelance writer, trained archeologist and historian whose first book First Catch Your Weka: a Story of New Zealand Cooking tells of the elements that made New Zealand cooking distinctive and reveals how our cuisine and culture have changed. Analysing more than 150 years’ of recipes, his study chronicles the culinary history of New Zealand, looking at curious dishes such as boiled calf’s head to more traditional homemade jams. Joe McLeod is an experienced executive chef with more than 50 years’ cooking in kitchens such as the Ritz in Paris. From hosting the TV series Joe’s World on a Plate on Māori TV to researching and rediscovering traditional Māori ingredients, his focus is to revive, preserve and promote Māori food and cooking.


Journalist Alexia Santamaria will unearth the art of celebrating cultural diversity through food with Australian media heavyweight Ben Groundwater. Ben specialises in food and travel, writing weekly for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, contributing to a range of international food and travel media, hosting Australia’s most popular travel podcast, Flight of Fancy, and has authored five books. Ben’s most recent book is Ultimate Food and Drink: Australia, a guide to the best restaurants, cellar doors, breweries and distilleries in Australia’s premier wine regions. He has also just released Neon Lights in Tokyo, a guide to eating and travelling in Japan’s capital. Ben has twice been named the Australian Society of Travel Writers’ Travel Writer of the Year.


Journalist Lucy Corry teams up with three incredible women each with a different perspective and a common passion. Philippa Cameron is the station cook at her husband’s family farm in the Waitaki Valley, Ōtemātātā Station. Philippa’s first book, A High Country Life captures a glimpse of each season on the 40,000-hectare property along with simple recipes that she uses regularly to fuel staff. Her second book, Winter Warmers, which has more recipes alongside tales from past employees, is due out April 2023. Nici Wickes’ approach to cooking is simple – source the very best ingredients you can afford, focus on flavour over technique and definitely don’t stress. Trained as a chef, Nici is now a successful freelance food writer and food stylist and her creative food content has graced many of New Zealand’s magazines over the last decade. Polly Markus launched her Instagram account Miss Polly’s Kitchen in March 2020 as a place to share recipes with those closest to her. She wanted a place to document some of the personal recipes developed over a lifetime of loving good food and away from life’s normal routine during COVID-19, she had more time to start creating and sharing recipes. It just so happened that everyone else had turned to cooking, too, leading to incredible channel growth and the release of her first book.


I’ll be leaving no stone unturned during this conversation with the king and queen of Royalburn Station. Renowned celebrity chef, entrepreneur and author Nadia Lim is a strong advocate for creating healthy and nutritious recipes using unprocessed and natural ingredients. It’s a passion which ultimately led her and her husband, Carlos Bagrie, to become two of the co-founders of My Food Bag, using Nadia’s background as a clinical dietitian and Carlos’ success in branding and marketing to solve the ‘what’s for dinner?’ dilemma for thousands of Kiwi families every night. Being a farm-boy from Southland, Carlos was keen to demonstrate how food can be grown at scale ethically, sustainably and profitably, drawing Nadia and the family to the south and becoming the owner and farmer of the Royalburn Station in Arrowtown. We’ll be diving deep into what it takes to run two large Central Otago stations, whilst expanding a genuine farm-to-plate venture.


Self-confessed book nerd and Verb founder Claire Mabey brings together three of our most innovative and passionate ambassadors for delicious and nutritious plants and vegetables. Rosa and Margo Flanagan, A.K.A. the Two Raw Sisters, are four-time bestselling authors on a mission to inspire, motivate and educate people on the benefits of everyday whole, unprocessed and raw ingredients. The passionate cooks share their love for healthy eating and how it has helped them to overcome serious health challenges along the way such as chronic fatigue, endometriosis, gut issues and battles with being an under-weight elite athlete. Neither Rosa nor Margo are vegan or vegetarian but focus on making plants the centrepiece on every plate with all eaters welcomed into their kitchen. Emma Galloway is the bestselling author of three cookbooks. A former chef, photographer and creator of the award-winning food blog My Darling Lemon Thyme, her work has appeared on Oprah.com and Food52 and in The Guardian and Cuisine. She was the recipient of the Tui Flower Award for Best Recipe Writing at the 2019 NZ Food Media Awards. Her latest cookbook My Darling Lemon Thyme, Every Day was released in April 2021.


Author and Visa Wellington On a Plate Head of Programming and Events Beth Brash will challenge the traditional cookbook concept with three emerging voices within the digital culinary space. Sam Low is a hospitality professional, content creator and brand ambassador. Fijian-born Chinese, raised in New Zealand and a member of the LGBTQ community, he works with brands and projects that are willing to champion diversity and which connect with his contemporary audience. Sam is a Chinese gastronomy enthusiast, a global competing barista champion and coffee educator, gaining the titles of the 2016 NZ Barista Champion and is a two-time New Zealand latte art champion. Sam was crowned winner of MasterChef™ New Zealand 2022 and is currently working on his first cookbook. Erin Clarkson is a baking blogger and recipe developer, who trained as a geologist but later found herself in the world of food. She currently lives in Wellington after having spent the last seven years in New York. Her website, Cloudy Kitchen, is dedicated to highly accurate and repeatable recipes, baking by weight and breaking down complicated recipes into detailed steps that everyone can achieve.

Join us at Visa Wellington On a Plate for Eat Your Words presented by Kenwood on Saturday 13 May at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. Cookbooks will be available for purchase and authors will be available for signings after each session. Tickets on sale now at visawoap.com/eat-your-words.