A top Kiwi chef rubbed shoulders with his heroes last night - while serving one of the most sumptuous meals ever seen in New Zealand.
Cape Kidnappers head chef Dale Gartland was working alongside global stars Heston Blumenthal and Thomas Keller to make a six-course feast at the Cape Kidnappers resort in Hawke's Bay.
"We can't believe we have got to work with Thomas and Heston," said Gartland. "We have learned a lot over the last couple of days with different techniques and ingredients."
Around 65 "foodies" from New Zealand and Australia paid $7000 for the meal and three night's accommodation at the five-star resort.
Prime Minister John Key, who attended with wife Bronagh, paid an undisclosed sum for just the meal.
"It's great to see world class chefs showing off the best of New Zealand cuisine," said Key.
Gartland was preparing a beetroot salad with goat's cheese, and slow-cooked Angus beef with mushroom tortellini.
He said the Kiwi contingent built up a healthy camaraderie with the chefs over the two days they spent preparing the meals - but still referred to them as "Chef Keller" and "Chef Blumenthal".
"They are all pretty serious about what they do, but we did get to have a laugh with them," Gartland said.
The dinner raised funds for the Plunket Society.