The countdown is on, with just a month until Feast Marlborough kicks off. The event features the region’s most outstanding food and wine and the talented people and stories behind it all. We thought we’d catch up with Chris Shaw, one of the people responsible for bringing Feast Marlborough to our region.
An interview with Chris Shaw – Feast Marlborough
Who is behind Feast Marlborough?
- We’ve got an amazing team, Joanna Glover, Louisa Leggat, Stephanie McIntyre. They may be a small team, but I reckon they punch well above their weight… And efficient, you wouldn’t believe! We also take advice, guidance and support from Liz Buttimore of Arbour. We’re pretty well supported by the council. Without the council events fund, this wouldn’t exist. It has been fantastic to get their support, we’ve had to prove ourselves which is as it should be but as with any startup its lots of labour and love and favours and the constant smell of an oily rag. So Bayleys Marlborough sponsorship of Friday Night Feast has been vital. Their support for Friday Night Feast has allowed the event to continue to grow, and it’s wonderful to have that backing, both morally and financially.
How many years has the event been running for?
- This will be our third year.
Where did the idea for the event first develop?
- We wanted to recognise that Marlborough has this incredible food story that is all about the land and the people. There’s this scene of creative people doing sensational things with food, from the producers the chefs and venues and we thought it needed its own show!
What are the main benefits for Marlborough?
- There are so many it’s hard to name them all. It attracts people to the region in the shoulder season, so there’s a “foreign investment” aspect to it. But, more importantly, it takes the regions gourmet food proposition and puts it in an accessible premium setting. You can experience world class produce and chefs at incredible events such as Gala Feast by Arbour. Or, you can do the same the next night at Friday Night Feast… And if you’re not too full, you can see the same talent at sublime locations across the region. It lets us say, “we’re Marlborough, and we have arrived!”
Does Feast Marlborough have something for the whole family?
- Oh Yes! It’s such a celebration of the region that we absolutely want it to be a family affair.
Why is the Bayleys Friday Night Feast such an important part of Feast Marlborough?
- Bayleys Friday Night Feast is the heart of the event, it’s what gives us this unique experience. People can meet chefs, like Al Brown and see them cooking in our own home town. It’s what makes the event a true celebration of the region. The very first year we were blown away by the reception we got for the night, it was such a cool vibe, and I think that we were all incredibly proud of the place that we live in. There are many great food events that happen around the region, but they are often held in quite private locations, this happens in a public space, and everyone is invited!
How many visitors do you expect this year?
- Last year we had over 6000 plates sold at the Friday Night Feast, it would be great to top that!
Why is May a great month of the year to celebrate everything culinary that Marlborough has to offer?
- It’s post-harvest, everyone’s pretty chilled, the Vintage people are still around, and the tourist infrastructure isn’t at capacity. It’s perfect.
Feast Marlborough runs from 9th – 12th May, 2019. Bayleys Friday Night Feast, a rip-roaring street party takes place on Friday 10th May from 3:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. We can’t wait to see you there!