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Exclusive dinner leads efforts to promote local black pearls

Wednesday September 17, 2014 Written by Published in Local
Guests at an upcoming one-of-a-kind dinner will be treated to a four course meal courtesy of chefs Phillip Nordt and Sam Timoko. 14091617 Guests at an upcoming one-of-a-kind dinner will be treated to a four course meal courtesy of chefs Phillip Nordt and Sam Timoko. 14091617

Stakeholders involved in the Cook Islands black pearl industry hope an upcoming one-of-a-kind dinner affair will blossom into a larger, annual event to showcase the locally produced product.

Next month, Pearl Festival Cook Islands - an incorporated society composed of industry officials and supporters who want to promote local pearls on a global scale – will be hosting its Inaugural Long Table Dinner.
Plans for the event include seating 200 guests on a 65-metre long table set up at Avatiu Marina. “It is the most exotic long table dinner in the world,” said Alexis Wolfgramm, Chair of the Pearl Festival Cook Islands Committee.
“... in the tropics, by the sea, by a working marina, way out in the middle of the Pacific,” she said.
“It’s unusual, but lends itself romantically as a unique place to hold a long table dinner,” she said.
Wolfgramm said the dinner is a marketing initiative for what officials hope will become an annual pearl festival in the Cook Islands, modelled after the ‘Shinju Matsuri’ – a yearly event built around the local pearl industry in Broome, Western Australia.
“It’s a seeding event for something we want to grow into an annual week of events that grows our industry,” said Wolfgramm.
The plan is to promote local products among competing producers such as Tahiti and Fiji.
“Our industry is smaller ... we produce high quality pearls,” she said. For the dinner, guests will be treated to a four-course meal developed by the culinary wizards at the Cook Islands Chefs Association (CICA).
Locally-based chefs Sam Timoko – the CICA’s President - and culinary arts Tutor Phillip Nordt will be leading a team of eight cooks, 16 service staff, handling all the logistics of creating a historic evening at the “very, very, very, long table”.
Guests can expect plenty of “local flavours and local ingredients”, with a little korori (local pearl meat) and unique presentations including food served on pearl shells.
Desert won’t just be sweet, it will dazzle with the inclusion of a pearl that diners can take home, said Wolfgramm. Guests are being told not to expect traditional entertainment, but are assured there will be “... a little touch of Manihiki.”
Pearl Festival Cook Islands Inaugural Long Table Dinner will be held on October 11 at 6pm at Avatiu marina. Seats at the table are available for $175 per person, including food, drink, and wine. Corporate and group seating is also on offer, with 10 seats priced at $150 each.
Wolfgramm said tickets are selling fast, with 10 per cent already sold. Dress is island formal.
Ticket reservations and information can be made through Wolfgramm at 29055 or 54547

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