Things to do  |  2 Feb 2021

Christchurch’s home-grown garden festival, Grow Ōtautahi, offers a three-day feast of food, design, outdoor living and sustainability in March.

Set in the Botanic Gardens, the free festival will feature a host of top chefs from around the region who will share their culinary skills.

Festival goers will also be able to sample locally sourced food, explore innovative landscape design, take part in workshops and masterclasses, learn about food science and experience gardening through the eyes of children.

Festival Director Sandi MacRae says that Grow Ōtautahi has been designed especially for the garden city.

“It celebrates our local community, champions our environment and supports education,” she says.

Ms MacRae says that the Grow Ōtautahi Christchurch Garden Festival will appeal to people of all ages and interests, offering plenty of opportunities for exploration.

Along with the cooking demonstrations and seminars, the festival will encourage conversations on food resilience, water usage and sustainability.

Jax Hamilton will lead a team of well-known chefs as they tackle the plant-based Meadow Mushrooms Mystery Box challenge in the Grow Ōtautahi Garden Kitchen.

Among those taking part are Fleur Sullivan (Fleurs Place), Simon Levy (Inati), Daniel Jenkins (Kaikoura Cheese), Alex Davies (Gatherings/Alfred), Flip Grater (Grater Goods), Max Perry and Samson Stewart (Fifth Street), Andy Bardsley (ex-The Bicycle Thief), Eeva Torvinen (The Monday Room) and Giulio Sturla (ex-Roots).

Working from the Davinia Sutton-designed Garden Kitchen and using herbs and vegetables from the surrounding “picking pantry”, the chefs will take turns to create dishes from a plant-based mystery box.

Ms Hamilton says that the events of the past year have meant that everyone has had to refocus on what’s important.

“It’s also put a spotlight on New Zealand and Grow is our chance to show everyone what we have to offer,” she says.

The Grow Ōtautahi Christchurch Garden Festival runs from Friday, 12 March to Sunday, 14 March.