There's a lot to be said of a plant-based diet; namely a roll call of health benefits, sustainable significance and the opportunity to expose and try new flavours. For two weeks this April, forward-thinking Ponsonby bistro Orphans Kitchen and Christchurch plant-based restaurant Gatherings will begin an exploration into the world of plants.
Root-to-Petal week is a nationwide initiative and conversation that celebrates vegetarian/vegan cooking, organic farming and aims to engage the general public and other restaurants around the joys and environmental impacts of a plant-based diet.
Orphans Kitchen first introduced the Root-to-Petal concept in 2016, dropping meat from its menu for an entire month with the objective of making everything "delicious as fuck". This year the concept will expand to Gatherings (Christchurch), Sherwood (Queenstown), Black Estate (Waipara), Hillside Kitchen (Wellington) and Bistronomy (Hawkes Bay) who will all introduce the concept for the last week of April.
Taking the initiative one step further, both chefs Tom Hishon (Orphans Kitchen) and Alex Davies (Gatherings) will inhabit each other's restaurants for week-long pop-ups. One hundred percent vegan and vegetarian dishes will be showcased across their respective breakfast, lunch and dinner menus — the chefs preparing and plating vegetables with the same level of dignity that is so often bestowed on a prime cut of meat.
Diners at Alex Davies' Orphans Kitchen pop-up can expect the full Gatherings experience, including a five-course set menu and living wine pairings. The award-winning Christchurch chef has a staunch outlook on using local ingredients; he showcases seasonal produce and "a taste of Canterbury" through clean, fresh dishes. After six months of being open the 25-seat restaurant was named 'Best New Metropolitan Restaurant' at Cuisine Magazine's Good Food Awards. You'll want to book for this one.
Root to Petal Week takes place from 17-28 April 2018. The Orphans Kitchen x Gatherings kitchen swaps take place from 25-28 April, 2018. For bookings, visit orphanskitchen.co.nz and gatherings.co.nz.