Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Gourmet food to tempt Auckland Cup punters

Punters who are feeling flush will be able to tuck into the crayfish The Grove's head chef Ben Bayly will be serving. Photo / Greg Bowker
Punters who are feeling flush will be able to tuck into the crayfish The Grove's head chef Ben Bayly will be serving. Photo / Greg Bowker

Punters who win big at today's Auckland Cup Day will be able to celebrate by gorging on something more sophisticated than the traditional pie and chips.

Live crayfish will be on display in an aquarium in the Gourmet Village area of the Ellerslie Racecourse, where food will be served by restaurant The Grove.

Head chef Ben Bayly said that at $19 for 100g - about $50 for a half cray - those feeling flush were able to order and have the crayfish cooked in front of them.

"We sold quite a few on Saturday [Derby Day] ... the whole idea is to provide something a little bit different at the races.

"People spend a lot of money getting dressed up and all that jazz, and we're just trying to do some food that matches all of that."

Three organic, free-range pigs will be put on a spit, to be served with peanuts and apples. The cooking will be on display to tempt the passing crowds.

Still, Mr Bayly was aware that his food was not for everyone.

"You are always going to get your pie-and-chips-type guy. I was walking through the stadium and I saw this guy having a pie and chips, and I looked at the price, and that guy could have come and eaten at our place for the same money."

Today's Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day at Ellerslie features 10 races, the first at 1.10pm. The last will run at about 6.35pm.

This year the current favourite for group one glory is Sangster, who is one of the shortest-priced favourites for years at $2.20.

The races will feature the Hawaiian Airlines Cup Couture fashion competition, which aims to find the best dressed couple on course.

Auckland Cup Week will conclude with Diamond Day on Saturday.

- NZ Herald

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