Hungry crowd heads inside for long lunch

By Corey Charlton

About 650 people crammed into the Rodney Green Centennial Event Centre in Napier yesterday after howling weather prevented the annual CJ Pask Winery Great Long Lunch from going ahead outdoors.

The lunch was just one of several Hawke's Bay events that had to be cancelled or rearranged over the weekend when it became apparent rain and high winds were due to hit the Bay.

The decision was made to move indoors on Friday, after organiser Meg Rodel spoke to a woman from the MetService.

"She more or less said you wouldn't be able to go outdoors, or you could, but it would be extremely unpleasant."

The rain didn't put off any participants with the expected 650 people taking part, although numbers were down from last year.

The move indoors was always "second choice", she said, but despite this she felt people still had a good time.

"It went really well ... I think people still enjoyed themselves - I went to a lot of trouble to decorate the hall."

This year's menu was also popular, she said, with many commenting it was the best they'd experienced at the annual gathering.

Executive chef and Dish Catering owner Jenny Parton said she went out on a limb, particularly with the Chinese poached chicken entree.

"The entree was really different, and I was quite nervous about that because it was pushing the boundaries," she said. "It was also a talking point. The entree is the first dish, so you can afford to do something different."

Keeping the menu original year after year was becoming a real challenge. "The dessert would have been good on a hot summer's day but everyone [still] seemed to enjoy it."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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