Karena and Kasey to host long lunch

Kasey and Karena Bird.

A bespoke tapas menu is being designed by MasterChef New Zealand winners Kasey and Karena Bird ahead of Skyline Rotorua’s first long lunch next Friday.

While the menu remains a closely guarded secret, it’s inspired by homegrown ingredients, seasonality and sustainability. It will be held in Skyline’s newly refurbished “Hidden Forest”.

With childhood memories at Skyline etched in their minds, Kasey and Karena said they had a special connection with the place.

“Mount Ngongotahā is our maunga (mountain) – we have launched both our cookbooks here, hosted cooking events and demonstrations, as well as attended several family functions.”

They shared the moment when they first realised they had been duped by their father about what Skyline really had to offer.

“Dad would often bring us up the gondola and it was a great weekend activity, but it wasn’t until we were older a cousin mentioned the wicked fun to be had on the Luge. We quickly realised dad had skipped out the luging part because he didn’t want to wait around for us.”

Kasey and Karena will now be hosting Skyline’s first long lunch in partnership with the attraction’s executive chef, Fred Kreutmayer.

“We were stoked when Fred asked us to collaborate with him. We scoped out the venue and were blown away by how seamlessly they’ve blended the beauty of nature with functionality. It’s so unique that guests can even Luge to the venue if they wish.

“We came away with a flurry of ideas but the only thing we can reveal is that we’ll be using as many ingredients as we can that are distinctive to the Bay of Plenty, as well as focusing on what is in season like beautiful Bluff oysters and being as sustainable as we can by only taking what we need.”

Since completing filming Kasey and Karena’s Kitchen Diplomacy, the girls had been inundated with opportunities.

“We select kaupapa (projects) that align with our ethos, not only as a business but as people. We exclusively design a menu for each event by researching the guests, venue and atmosphere we want our diners to experience.”

The duo will be interacting with guests during the event, while local musician Chris Webber entertains diners with his easy-going guitar and vocal skills.

As well as enjoying a glass of Moët on arrival, (and of course a delicious selection of tapas), guests will be treated to grazing platters stretching the length of the tables encouraging conversation and whanaungatanga (shared experience).

Skyline Rotorua’s Long Lunch will be held at the attraction’s Hidden Forest venue on Friday, March 29 from 12pm to 4pm.

Event: Long Lunch with Kasey and Karena

Where: Skyline Rotorua, Hidden Forest venue

When: Friday March 29, 12pm to 4pm

Tickets: $59 per person, www.skyline.co.nz

You can read the full Rotorua Daily Post article here.