Eric Pateman one of the world’s most prominent consultants and strategists on culinary tourism led a Coromandel food forum at Flaxmill Bay the week before last, as part of a shared initiative between Thames- Coromandel District Council and Auckland Council’s economic development arms.
The purpose of the workshop was to bring together Coromandel food producers and providers to improve collaboration and networking between the local food, hospitality and tourism sectors and to start devising an action plan for food tourism opportunities. “Auckland is one of our biggest visitor markets, and part of the discussion at the [forum] was about how we can balance and manage what the Coromandel food and hospitality sector has to offer with customer expectations and satisfaction,” says Laurna White, TCDC’s economic development and communications group manager.
Eric’s work takes him around the world to provide expert advice to the food sector on how to improve and better promote local markets. He also has a focus on seafood and aquaculture, which is why his insights are invaluable to the Peninsula.
Local and homegrown food is an important part of the Coromandel economy, with mussel farms, organic growers and artisan producers among those helping to establish the Peninsula as the pantry of artisan and locally-grown food products.
In the past, TCDC has hosted a stand at the Auckland Food Show, where local producers have been able to showcase their products to a wider market and allowed them to connect with restaurants and retail outlets from around New Zealand. “With the impact of Covid-19, our approach this year has been to bring food tourism and industry experts to the Coromandel to meet with the sector,” says Mrs White.
Attending the forum were 309 Honey, Castle Rock Fine Foods, Opito Bay Salt, Espy Café, Gastronomics Restaurant in Thames, representatives from the aquaculture industry and the food nutrition unit of Mercury Bay Area School.