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Kiwi chef returns home for Tasting Lounge

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

World renowned, Kiwi chef Robert Oliver has been named as the celebrity guest chef for innovative travel company Mondo's Tasting Lounge, a pop-up restaurant which this month focuses on the tastes of Tahiti.

Oliver, will join Mondo Travel Tasting Lounge head chef, and Masterchef NZ winner, Brett McGregor to create a three-course menu, celebrating the best of Tahitian cuisine, and matched with wines from exclusive Marlborough label Whitehaven.

Oliver, who was raised in Fiji and Samoa, has developed and run successful restaurants in the US and Australia, and is now based in Shanghai as consulting chef to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. He is best known here for his gorgeous, award-winning cook book Me'a Kai: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific, named as the world's best cook book in the highly regarded 2010 Gourmand awards - considered the Pulitzer Prize of food books.

Oliver and McGregor will also be joined in the kitchen by the executive chef from the St Regis Bora Bora hotel.

The Tasting Lounge is open at the Marvel Grill, in Auckland's newest dining precinct the Wynyard Quarter, on the last Monday of every month until June this year. Each month celebrates the best cuisine from a different destination or travel experience, with matched wines from Whitehaven. Each evening is MC'd by Kiwi entertainer Jackie Clarke.

Last month's first Tasting Lounge, celebrating the cuisine of New South Wales, was a huge success and Mondo Travel marketing manager Gordon Bayne says the March event celebrating Tahiti will be just as spectacular.

"Securing Robert Oliver is a huge coup. The Tahiti Tasting Lounge will be a rare chance for Kiwis to experience the authentic Pacific style cuisine the readers of his book have embraced all over the world."

Funds raised from the pop-up restaurant will go to the Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust, which trains mobility dogs to assist those with physical disabilities.

Oliver says he is thrilled to be a part of such an exciting food event in Auckland, particularly given that it will benefit a charity. "Working with charities like this and giving back to the community is a core part of the Pacific spirit."

Other destinations and travel experiences celebrated in future Tasting Lounges will include Western Australia, Thailand and cruising. Bayne says the Tasting Lounge is the latest in Mondo's long history of innovative travel concepts. "Mondo prides itself on selling more than just plane tickets and hotel rooms," he says. "Travel with us is about really experiencing a destination - and guiding our clients towards sampling the amazing cuisine of a country is a perfect example of how we bring a destination to life."

For more information on The Tasting Lounge, menus, and purchasing tickets visit

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