A collaborative effort between five of Auckland’s top chefs and Villa Maria Estate has raised $100,000 for the Christchurch City Mission. What began as a desire to do something to help the people of Canterbury after the devastating February earthquake became a demonstration of solidarity and generosity from Villa Maria, those organising the event and those that attended.

Two hundred and ten guests paid $250 each for the five-course degustation matched with Villa Maria wines. Everyone involved from the front of house staff to the food suppliers donated their time or products for the event.

Participating chefs included: Des Harris – Clooney Michael Meredith – Merediths Mike van de Elzen – Molten Restaurant Sid Sahrawat – Sidart Restaurant Stephen Ward – O’Connell Street Bistro

The luncheon was hosted by Villa Maria. Kerre Woodham and John Hawkesby emceed the event where guests were wined and dined with live entertainment and with a series of live and silent auctions. The enthusiastic crowd bid generously, including $5000 for a progressive dinner at a selection of Auckland restaurants.

The grand total from ticket and auction sales came to $93,000 with an un-named person pledging the extra $7000 to make an even total of $100,000.

One hundred per cent of all proceeds are being donated to the Christchurch City Mission, an organisation that has a heavy load to bear in the coming months.

Christchurch City Missioner Michael Gorman was ecstatic to hear of the donation: “Our work at the City Mission is only just beginning, as we are now faced with an influx of new people who never thought they would need us. Redundancies and homelessness are forcing people to set aside their pride and seek help. We are eager to assist and will have better resources to do so with this wonderful donation,” he said.