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A trio of culinary developments in Wellington

Filed by Jack Yan/November 28, 2010/11.29

Pascal Chivot and HE Michel Legras
TECO event

Top Simply Paris‘s Pascal Chivot receives his Chevalier dans l’ordre du mérite agricole from French Ambassador HE Michel Legras. Above Chefs from Taiwan treat Wellingtonians to a taste of the island’s unique cuisine.

Pascal Chivot is probably Wellington’s favourite pastry chef. His Simply Paris shops on Cuba Street and Riddiford Street, Newtown, are famous among all Wellingtonians: the former for the pastries, cakes that are made to the world-class standard that saw him honoured by the French Government in early September.
   M. Chivot was awarded the Chevalier dans l’ordre du mérite agricole (National Order of Agricultural Merit) by the French Ambassador, HE Michel Legras.
   The ceremony was punctuated by M. Chivot’s daughter rushing up during the official part, and the newly awarded chef was perhaps quite flustered as he abandoned the delivery of his written speech in favour of a few heartfelt comments.
   A letter from the Mayor, Kerry Prendergast, was read out to the audience, and I was honoured that the Ambassador noted that there was at least a Francophone mayoral candidate in the room—yours truly.
   One mayor and one ambassador later, Wellington was treated to another diplomatic–culinary do as the Taiwanese Economic and Cultural Office invited members of the diplomatic corps, Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon, Ms Prendergast and members of her family, and other guests to sample the foods of Taiwan at a special two-day function at Whitby’s Restaurant at the James Cook Hotel, entitled A Taste of Taiwanese Flavours.
   This November function saw chefs being flown out from the island to demonstrate cuisine distinctive to Taiwan. One talented chef made figurines out from coloured flour, which caught the attention of the younger diners; while overall, we were served a unique (at least for Wellington) dinner hosted by the Republic of China’s representative to New Zealand, HE Charles Tsai.
Taiwan chef's flour figurines
Taiwan chef's flour figurines
Above Figurines made from coloured flour at A Taste of Taiwanese Flavours.

   Finally, after a bit of prompting from the Museum Hotel‘s owner, Chris Parkin, and a guided tour by Aleisha Penny on his staff, I visited the newly refurbished Hippopotamus bar. Michael Nalder, whom I used to present with (in separate segments) on Good Morning those many years ago, was responsible for sourcing the sumptuous materials, which were very impressive. The usual services are there: bar, restaurant and the Museum Hotel’s increasingly popular high tea, plus a new private dining room added opposite to the lifts.—Jack Yan, Publisher

Museum Hotel Hippopotamus Bar refurbished
Above The newly refurbished Hippopotamus Bar at the Museum Hotel, with famed interior designer Michael Nalder contributing to the look.

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  • I do like the sound of your job, going around to all these honouring culinary events :)

  • Thanks, Bobby. I wish my photos were as good as yours: four of the above five were just off my old phone.

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