• Jan. 11, 2022

From 13-31 January, Taste New Zealand to celebrate Aotearoa New Zealand’s food, beverage, and culinary talent with a range of events including:

  • 14 January – Chef Sid’s Culinary tour of New Zealand
  • 18-20 January – Comvita Honey Tasting Pop-up
  • 22 January – Demonstration Kitchen by LOWE’s Jesse Blake
  • 29 January – Matariki Degustation Dinner by Kārena and Kasey Bird

Taste New Zealand, a culinary showcase of the nation’s food and beverage offering, will take place at Expo 2020 Dubai from 13-31 January 2022. The three-week event is being led by celebrated visiting Chefs Sid Sahrawat and Kārena and Kasey Bird, as well as Dubai-based Jesse Blake, who will showcase their gastronomic skills and spotlight New Zealand’s array of premium ingredients for visitors to enjoy.

During the festival, food enthusiasts can partake in a mix of bookable and first-come, first-serve events including kitchen demonstration pop-ups and specially curated dinners at the country’s pavilion restaurant, Tiaki.

Chef and restaurateur Sid Sahrawat, who will be at Taste New Zealand from 13-18 January, has spent many years making his mark on the dining scene in Auckland with highly acclaimed restaurants Sidart (recently sold), Cassia and Sid at The French Café. He is renowned for his innovative and inspirational cooking and combining contemporary cuisine with traditional Indian flavours.

“I am really looking forward to being at Expo 2020 Dubai and am very proud to be able to show the world my own take on sourcing and cooking with incredible New Zealand ingredients. It’s a moment for us to showcase how our country has some of the very best produce, which is grown and produced with care and consideration – resulting in excellent taste and quality,” said Sid Sahrawat.

In celebration of Taste New Zealand, Sid has created a special dish – Hawkes Bay lamb chops with Horopito crème fraiche – that will feature on the Tiaki menu during his time at the festival. Naturally delicious, full of flavour, and perfectly tender – the grass-fed lamb is beautifully complemented by Horopito, a native plant with a peppery taste. He will also be teaming up with Dubai-based Sommelier Lindsay Trivers from The Tasting Class to deliver a Culinary Tour of New Zealand on 14 January, taking diners on a journey around the nation’s regions with four delicious dishes and beverage matches.

Sisters and MasterChef New Zealand winners Kārena and Kasey Bird will be at Taste New Zealand from 26-31 January. Having grown up in the beautiful beachside community of Maketu – a place where the community comes together to grow and source fresh, seasonal produce –Kārena and Kasey have turned their passion for cooking into bright careers, giving them a platform to create dishes that celebrate their Māori whakapapa and upbringing.

“Food, beverage, and manaaki are such a huge part of the culture in New Zealand. We are incredibly excited to be a part of a global event like Expo 2020 Dubai, where we can bring our own experiences to life through curated events and special moments for those who are visiting,” said Kārena Bird.

Kasey Bird added: “We hope to leave Dubai with a lasting understanding about New Zealand’s connection to the land and sea and what makes the nation so special.”

Alongside a Mystery Box cooking challenge and demonstration kitchen, the sisters have created a bespoke Matariki Degustation Dinner, inspired by the story of a star cluster that signals the beginning of the Māori New Year. This special event will be accompanied by cultural storytelling and entertainment.

Kārena and Kasey’s unique dish – Mānuka Smoked Beef – will also feature on Tiaki’s menu while they are at Expo, allowing guests to experience a modern take on the Hāngī – the centuries-old method of cooking food in a pit oven underground.

Jesse Blake, the Executive Chef behind homegrown Dubai concept LOWE, will also be partaking in Taste New Zealand, sharing a dish that heroes New Zealand scampi from 19-25 January. Born and bred in Aotearoa New Zealand, the talented chef has made waves with his creative, produce-driven approach on a global scale, which he will be sharing with visitors at Expo 2020.

Speaking on his involvement, Jesse Blake said: “As a Kiwi who has been living and working overseas for more than 10 years, I can’t wait to represent my home on the world stage at Taste New Zealand. Having the opportunity to cook with top New Zealand produce within the setting of the New Zealand Pavilion at Expo 2020 is pretty special and I hope diners connect with the culinary essence of Aotearoa through my dish.”

Taste New Zealand highlights include:

14 January – Chef Sid’s Culinary Tour of New Zealand with Dubai-based Sommelier Lindsay Trivers. A four-course degustation ticketed dinner. Reserve your seat: [email protected]. Wine pairing option: AED 525 per person incl. VAT / Non-alcoholic pairing option: AED 325 per person incl. VAT

18-20 January – Comvita Mixed Reality Honey Tasting Experience. Connecting people to the magical world of bees and the amazing work they do. Complimentary experience but reservation required:

22 January – Demonstration kitchen by Jesse Blake. Merging Chef Jesse’s love of kaimoana (seafood) with his modern culinary style. This event is on a first-come, first-served basis.

29 January – Chefs’ Table with Kārena and Kasey Bird. A multi-course degustation ticketed dinner that is inspired by the story of Matariki, a star cluster that signals the beginning of the Māori New Year. To book tickets: [email protected] Reserve your seat: Wine pairing option: AED 525 per person incl. VAT / Non-alcoholic pairing option: AED 325 per person incl. VAT

Meaning to care, safeguard, protect and preserve in te reo Māori, Tiaki celebrates the special connection New Zealand food producers have to both land and sea – a relationship founded on respect and understanding that when nature thrives, we all thrive. Tiaki restaurant is central to New Zealand’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, underpinning the nation’s role as a producer of premium-quality food and beverage products to millions of people in more than 140 countries.

Further commenting on the event, Clayton Kimpton, New Zealand’s Commissioner-General to Expo 2020 Dubai said: “Food and beverage is New Zealand’s main export sector and bringing Taste New Zealand to Expo 2020 Dubai is a great opportunity to showcase our premium products on a global platform – and to bring our pavilion’s theme of Care for People and Place to life. It is the care inspired by the unique connection our people have with the land and sea that enables us to turn our natural advantage into truly outstanding food and beverages. Care is what drives us to produce tasty, premium quality, safe, nutritious and ethical food.”

New Zealand exports more than half the food it produces, delivering premium-quality food and beverage products to millions of people across the world. Generations of knowledge and experience means the people know how to get the very best from nature, which might explain why New Zealand is the world’s biggest dairy exporter and also known around the globe for its lamb, beef, apples, kiwifruit, honey, rock lobster, and processed foods.

For more information and to reserve your seat to Taste New Zealand visit: Taste New Zealand | NZ Expo 2020 Dubai (