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Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

International chefs fly in to rustle up charity dinner

Thirteen international chefs from as far afield as Argentina and Bali joined forces with top Kiwi chef Peter Gordon for a fine-dining charity event in Auckland.

Gordon was happy to play waiter as he earlier served up breakfast for his esteemed but hungry colleagues at Sky Tower's Sugar Club restaurant on Saturday morning before the event.

The visiting chefs wolfed down the grub before getting to work preparing a four-course menu with matching wines for 300 lucky New Zealanders attending the SkyCity Dining for a Difference event.

Pablo del Rio from Siete Cocinas de Argentina in Mendoza planned to rustle up a unique brand of South American cuisine, while Kiwi chef Dwayne Cheer returned home from working at Potato Head in Bali for the occasion.

"It is cool to be able to come back and do this," Cheer said.

"I'm planning to serve up some Dutch bruschetta and melon and I will also be doing something with some fresh John Dory fish that has just arrived...the rest is a secret."

The annual event was dreamed up by Gordon to raise funds for Leukaemia & Blood Foundation New Zealand. More than $1 million has been raised since its inception in 2007.

Gordon has a close connection with the cause. In March 1995 his sister Tracey was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and he donated bone marrow to save her life.

The transplant was successful and his sister travelled from her home in Australia to attend the dinner.

"It is 21 years since the transplant, and it is fitting that Tracey should be here to celebrate," Gordon said.

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