Ukulele Magic

Wellington International Ukulele OrchestraTara and I got the best gig ever…we cooked dinner for The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. They are a well-known band here in NZ and I was introduced to their music the 2nd week I got to this beautiful country – thanks Noel :) I was instantly hooked. You definitely need to check them out. One morning in Wellington while I was having my tea I met the band manager. We hit it off and she was telling me about the tour and a light bulb lit. I had a great idea. A few days later I sent her an email asking her if it would be possible to cook the band dinner before one of their shows. Her response was YES…the band would LOVE to have us cook them dinner…all 16 of them! We decided to go to the Lyttelton show on April 21st. The venue, Harbour Light, was great. It was small and intimate and the show was amazing. My friend Will brought the wine from his vineyard – Kerner Estate. Thanks Will! The delicious menu…

Honey roasted kumara and pumpkin soup (this was a very eco-friendly starter. we served the soup in small pumpkins and noel, being the crafty guy he is, shaped spoons out of carrots. It was brilliant. no dishes or utensils to clean) For the main we made polenta cakes served over greens topped with a veggie stew and an herb oil and for dessert we poached pears in red wine and topped it with a crème friache and goat cheese mixture. The menu had to be light, healthy and energetic. I believe we succeeded…the Uke’s loved it and we got a thank you serenade after dinner and a special thank you on stage. This experience was one of my highlights on my trip here in NZ. After all, this is what it’s about - I got to cook great food for great people and in return I got to listen to great music. It doesn’t get any better then that. The Ukulele’s rocked it that night and so did we in the kitchen. We made magic happen. By the way, I bought a ukulele – I’ve been inspired by the band so I’m going to learn how to play.

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