Tomorrow is my favourite launch of the year – the Wellington on a Plate programme. In advance, and without having looked at their website, here’s what I think it will include (or not) so we can look tomorrow and see if I was right or wrong.

  • There’s always a trending meat (wow is that a terrible phrase). Years ago it was pulled pork but now you can even get that at Pizza Hut, it’s totally passe. We’ve seen beef cheeks,┬álast year everyone seemed to be doing poultry (we remember the one place passing off chicken as turkey when they ran out in previous years) so this year I’m predicting pastrami/corned beef to be making it big. I think we’ve seen an increase in Jewish-style deli dining, and I reckon this is up & coming.
  • Meanwhile, baos are everywhere in Wellington right now so I also expect to see a lot of bao buns, and Vietnamesey flavours even in places that aren’t Asian-cuisine styles normally.
  • From gossip we’ve heard, the best cocktail competition hasn’t had a huge uptake in previous years, which is easy to understand. Most people have to eat lunch so it’s easy to justify spending on a burger to get in on the action, but the price of a cocktail & canape is often the price of a burger so it makes sense to fill your belly instead. I would not be surprised to see the cocktail competition element of Wellington on a Plate eased out.
  • That said, we’re expecting to see spirits playing a larger role than they have in the past, given the growth in boutique gins around the region.
  • Hopefully the team have done a thorough proof-reading and sense check of all names of all entries, so we won’t have a repeat of last year.
  • Last year we tweeted extensively about our hope for a Mckenzie Brothers vs Bresolin Brothers hospitality death match (the winner is our bellies). This probably won’t happen but wouldn’t it be great if it did?
  • This is not a prediction, more of a request. Can we please just all settle on one hashtag and use that? Thank you. We humbly suggest #wellyonaplate and also #burgerwelly for burgers. Thank you
  • We know the festival is in safe hands with Beth at the lead (and look at how Wellington has grown now with all its ramen places and rooftop bars since that post five years ago) and we’re really looking forward to seeing what’s new.

Finally, the single best Wellington on a Plate event we went to last year was the Hawthorn Lounge’s cocktail degustation that made dishes inspired by classic Wellington dishes (like Nikau’s Kedgeree). The warmth & generousity of that night (along with the bloody delicious drinks) made it abundantly clear what a family the Wellington hospitality scene is, and it was just such a pleasure hearing all the stories about the makers. We hope more events this year will bring the love in the same way.