- Samir Allen - Gemmayze Street
- Kyle Street - Culprit
- Dariush Lolaiy - Cazador
- Nick Honeyman - Paris Butter
- Jessabel Granada - Nanam Republic
- Carlo Buenaventura - The Cult Project
- Mal Meiers - Food for Thought
Since 2014, the annual Food for Thoughtcharity dinners, have founded a unique collaboration of emerging and talented hospitality professionals to create exceptional dinners for a higher cause.
In 2018, Food for Thoughtwill expand the established fundraising campaign to include the first international event with the help of Ora King Salmon and a few of New Zealand key chefs.
By working together and utilising our skills and experience, we are raising awareness of the crippling effects of anxiety and depression by encouraging conversation around the dining table to help break down the stigma surrounding mental health. But it’s not just the conversation, it also a dinner to help raise funds for Mental Health New Zealandwith 100% of profits from the dinnergoing to support the charity.
Over the last four years, Food for Thought has hosted events ranging from 6-7 course menu degustation with beverage pairing for 35-75 people to most recently a 300-person cocktail party featuring an 8-course canapé menu. The whole concept is based around a coming together of culinary excellence to use our skill and passion to combat a higher cause.
The November 2017 campaign hosted degustation events in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane resulting in just under $26,000 going to help mental health charities in Australia. While 2018 started early with a February collaboration with Arbory Bar in Melbourne which hosted the 300-person cocktail party resulting in $27,000 going to charity.
The vision for this event with the help of Ora King Salmon and Carlo Buenaventura is to bring together a group of talented kiwi chefs and going off the established concept to bring to life Food for Thought with the help of an Auckland based venue, New Zealand chefs and producers.
“In our (hospitality) industry we do witness the effects that long hours, high-pressure work environments and an often ‘just deal with it’ attitude can have, causing those suffering from anxiety and depression not to speak out. Having personally faced this, I felt a huge importance to support this cause; hence the creation of these dinners which was sparked from my own experience.” Says Mal Meiers
The Mental Health Foundation promotes the tools and behaviours that build positive mental health and wellbeing, supports people to manage mental health issues, and advocates for appropriate support, services and policies so everyone can enjoy positive mental health and wellbeing, throughout the ups and downs of life.
The charity’s aim is to increase awareness about mental health and mental illness so everyone feels comfortable asking friends and whānau if they are okay.
Information, resources and programmes are provided for free by the Mental Health Foundation, which also runs national campaigns such as New Zealand’s largest anti-bullying campaign, Pink Shirt Day, and Mental Health Awareness Week.
“My hope is to help broaden the awareness of the support that is available to not only my peers but to the wider community for all those who suffer in silence.” - Concludes Meiers