While our politicians wrangle over food in schools the only clarity to emerge from their debate is that they have no idea what they are on about. On one side you have the worthies such as Hone Harawira, who see school meals as a panacea for dysfunctional parenting and a fuel station for poor kids. On the other side there are those who preach whanau independence and the ideology of individual achievement. Both are wrong. It is about education.
Here we go, another big idea that we are told is the silver bullet that will deal to all our hospitality sector issues. But as usual, central government misses the whole point of hospo, that it is a person-to-person business and is not adaptable to grand plans that rely on significant bureaucracies to survive. Whether those bureaucracies are political, as in the Soviet behemoth, Intourist, or corporate, as in SKYCITY, their product is inevitably tainted by the decision-making of accountants, not hospitality professionals, and both are doomed to fail.
The event was promoted as a master class in pouring Heineken beer from Dutch expert, Franck Evers, but in spite of his adept science-speak approach it was not so much the physics of bubbles that he was promoting but the subtle advantages of good bar manners for professionals.
You have to love technology. Just when you thought wowsers were satiated by the multiple causes available to their excited sense of moral outrage, from sex to booze to smoking, when along comes the synthesised ‘legal high’ to offer another. If you ever doubted the influence of Calvinism on New Zealand’s psyche, observe the lather that a solid chunk of worthy citizenry as well as the mainstream media have worked themselves into over this issue, and wonder whether the same concern would be shown if this was just another case of poor labelling without the Devil being involved.
National Party list MP, Aaron Gilmore has provided welcome grist to the cartoon mill with his bullying behaviour towards a waiter unfortunate enough to be serving him. As somebody who has done his share of waiting I am not particularly surprised by the “do-you-know-who-I-am” attitude of those who claim to be serving the public, but I am surprised that an individual bully is roundly criticised when as a nation we accept corporate bullying as normal behaviour.
The cries of pain and accusations of political interference from the chemicals industry at the European Commission’s ban on certain pesticides are as surprising and credible as WBC protestations that professional boxing is an honest sport. But even hazed by the spray of specious commentary from chemical headquarters around the world, the efforts of New Zealand’s branch of the corporate chemical lobby, Agcarm, stood out for its deceit.
New Zealand wine and New Zealand restaurants have been in partnership to modify our culinary culture for over fifty year, but a decade of neglect by wine has driven restaurants into the arms of the newly vigorous craft brewers.
The Minister of Tourism has announced an initiative to bring more “top end” tourists to New Zealand, from China, India, Indonesia and Latin America, and has put our money where his mouth is by lobbing $160 million into the pot.
Just imagine if New Zealand’s meat exporters managed to achieve the average price for the lamb they sell on export markets. That would increase the annual value of our sheep meat exports by around 15%, or NZ$375 million.
On the eve of the biggest restaurant awards event on the globe, with yet another battle between critics and restaurateurs hitting the UK press, and as we wait for the Metro Magazine’s final best of Auckland awards to be made, it is time to question whether our reviewers are writing for the good of restaurant diners, the critical blood-lust of their readers, or the commercial pressure of their advertisers? Given the large number of winners that occupy spaces next to the Sky Tower, there are signs that those with the advertising dollars are more likely to take headline grabbing trophies than small, owner-operated restaurants intent on providing the best of service, food and drink.
The new labelling regime introduced by Nikki Kaye’s signature this week on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand document has been generally applauded by food companies. It falls in line with their argument that self-regulation is preferable to official interference in their marketing activities. Consumer advocates are also supportive, if only because this is the first time this Government has shown any interest in the health consequences of fast-moving consumer goods, other than alcohol and tobacco.
News that Central Otago has been chosen as the latest wine region to have a special glass designed for its particular Pinot Noir wines is a sign that this region has become one of the trendiest in the international fine wine market. Not that you would notice from the prices its wines achieve, but that may come soon after the latest set of famous maker Central Otago Pinot Noir glasses hits the shelf at Harrods.