Tension levels were high in the Ruth Pretty Catering test kitchen when Ruth with chefs Jamie and Tristan trialled three possible 2016 WOW™ VIP dinner menus.
No pressure, but Sioned Winterton from WOW™ head office travelled from Nelson just for this; Operations Manager Jamie Wilson came from Wellington. With each three-course menu that meant nine courses to taste and consider: it sounds the perfect way to spend a day but reality hits quite quickly, and mouthfuls rather than whole plates were tasted. Just like Masterchef.
The criteria are challenging. The menu has to be seasonal but not repetitive because many guests have attended before; appeal to a wide range of tastes and dietary requirements; be not too heavy or too light, and must simply have the WOW factor. VIP guests are placed strategically to enjoy dinner stage side surrounded by pre show entertainment.
On the practical side, dinner for the planned 250 guests has to be served and cleared within 90 minutes, from a temporary kitchen while keeping out of the way of performers with HUGE costumes. Presentation must be attractive but not too fiddly, and plates easy to carry and serve. Like a restaurant, the Ruth Pretty team prep in advance, then Ruth and 9 chefs cook and plate at point of service. Hot food must be served hot! And on hot plates.
Sioned and Jamie tasted each menu carefully, scoring the dishes individually and as a coherent menu. They had lots of questions and thoughtful discussions. Tough decisions.
The caramelised apple dessert was the chef team’s favourite and the cheer went up when Sioned and Jamie agreed.
There are still some VIP dinner tables are available, please see www.worldofwearableart.co.nz for dates and details. You can take a whole table for 10, or single places if you prefer, for maximum flexibility.