Sleeping Beauty’s fairy dust has settled and Giselle’s haunting mist has cleared, but the gratitude and appreciation we feel for everyone involved in The Ballet Banquet keeps growing.

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Today I’ve edited the last of the images and sent them out into the world so we can share what we achieved through a visual narrative. I’m sure when gather & hunt release the video of the event by Benjamin Brooking, I’ll be overwhelmed with pride in the group of creatives and inspiring people who made this all happen.

I’ve mentioned Antipodes Water Company, Nautilus Estate and gather & hunt several times. But we wanted to share more about why these companies and people are so special.

Antipodes and Nautilus are sponsors of the Royal New Zealand Ballet but the way they show their support is truly unique. In honour of RNZB’s 60th birthday, they invested a lot of time, thought and finance into this event. The Ballet Banquet brought together so many young creatives and showcased their skills, as well as giving people a really interesting and inspired perspective on ballet. I think it is wonderful how this one event had the result of celebrating so many skilled people (chefs, composers, musicians, ballet dancers, lighting technicians, front of house staff, producers, photographers, videographers…) and allowed us all to shine. As well as growing and developing new audiences for ballet, fine dining and classical music. I think that companies like Antipodes and Nautilus Estate are redefining what sponsorship and relationship means. They both spend a lot of time in the hospitality world, but because they enable events like this, the entire industry is enriched.

Gather & hunt’s events are no strangers to Ed and I. In fact, we owe our wonderful relationship to them… It was amazing to see how much Courteney, Alice and Rebecca gave to realise the dreams Ed had for his dishes and their presentation. Words cannot describe the patience, generosity and collaboration you have given to us. When Ed asked for freshly cut wooden rounds as plates for Nutcracker: nobody blinked, nobody said ‘no, that isn’t possible’… Instead gather & hunt proved why they are so fabulous to work with: no idea is unachievable, and every creative hope is respected. We know how many long hours were spent in the lead up to the event, but Courteney and Rebecca were also the backbones of the evening. They fulfilled multiple roles, managed multiple expectations and did it all with grace. Thank you, Rebecca,  for your calmness and swiftness during service and ensuring every person there was immersed in an intimate and elegant dining experience. Thank you, Courteney, for your charm, your positivity and your perfectionism. It was indeed, perfect, thanks to you both.

Ed couldn’t have done this without a team of chefs behind him. One man in particular flew up from Wellington to spend over 30 hours in the kitchen by Ed’s side in the 48 hours before the event. Joe Greenwood, you simply are a legend and we can’t wait to work with you again. No task was too much, and you bore every long hour in the kitchen with such an enjoyable energy.  Thanks to Earl, Sandeep and Thomas from Craftbro’s!

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Thank you Chef Brian Campbell, for your epic contribution of Swan Lake as the final course and your help in plating and overseeing service for Ed’s dishes. It was great to work with you again after Art DEGO!

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Thanks to Mark Southon at The Foodstore for letting us into your bustling kitchen during Friday night’s service, and so generously let us use specialist equipment and even loan us a chef in our hour of need!

Dave O’Hagan – from bringing us gastro trays from your own kitchen to providing us with every utensil we needed, Southern Hospitality showed why they hold such a revered place in the industry.

Dariush Lolaiy and Cazador, thank you for letting us take over your kitchen for this video, investing so much in the equipment required, lending so much equipment and possibly most importantly, ‘lending’ us your beautiful wife Rebecca Smidt…

Thank you to Claire Cowan, The Blackbird Ensemble and Celery Productions for being other amazing creatives and artists with such pivotal roles. Claire’s original composition of ballet themes set the scene and entranced us. Ella and Celia created such a stunning environment of lights for both the food and the musical performance.

Thanks to all these amazing suppliers throughout Auckland and beyond: Robbie Greenslade of Firstlight Foods for supplying Ed with awesome Wagyu beef and her advice on cuts, Rachel from Yellow Brick Road for the stunning fresh monkfish they sent us when nobody else in Auckland had any, Aldo and the team at Art of Produce for allowing us to handpick some vegetables and give us such gorgeous stock.

There are so many ‘invisible’ roles during an event, but they are nonetheless so needed and appreciated: Philip Loizou, Melinda Jenkins, India Essuah, Emma Goldstraw, Brough Johnson, Rachael Pizey, Johhny Sweeney, Helen Steemson, Keren Phillips, Rebekah Guy, Mike Murphy and Kokako, Joss and the team at Mojo, Paolo and Supremmo Hospitality, and Trestle Union for the wonderful Nutcracker plates.