Simon set to master Games catering

By Mark Dawson

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CATERING CALYPSO: Simon Bowen checks out the War Memorial forecourt where he will run the Masters Games food court.
CATERING CALYPSO: Simon Bowen checks out the War Memorial forecourt where he will run the Masters Games food court.

A smorgasbord of international cuisine is being prepared to keep Masters Games participants fuelled for their competitions.

And the food court at the Games Village on Whanganui's War Memorial Centre forecourt is set to be a popular attraction for spectators and the public.

The food trucks will be parked around the forecourt for the duration of the Games, which run from February 3 to 12 at various city venues.

The catering carnival is being organised by Simon Bowen, who has already made his mark on Whanganui palates by bringing the Street Feast evening dining experience here.

Street Feast, a monthly event, debuted in the city in November and the caravan of food vendors also serves Palmerston North, Levin and Feilding.

Mr Bowen and partner Alecia Cole-Bowen run the Three Little Birds truck which specialises in Jamaican food such as jerk chicken and curried goat.

"We started cooking for friends and then our first event was the Newtown festival in Wellington and we were a big hit," Mr Bowen said on a visit to check out the Games Village venue.

"It started as a hobby; now it's a business.

"We have travelled to and participated in some of the biggest festivals in New Zealand, including Womad and Rhythm 'n Vines."

Serving up to 800 meals a day at the three-day Womad music festival gave the couple lots of experience and from there they decided to start running their own events.

Mr Bowen has hand-picked the 12 vendors for the Masters Games who will be rotated with six for the first five days of the Games and six for the last five days.

As well as authentic Jamaican cuisine, food from Spain, Holland, Vietnam, Japan, Greece and other nations will be featured.

Along with breakfast, lunch and dinner, the War Memorial forecourt will offer musical entertainment, while the centre will be used for registrations and merchandising. The concert chamber will host briefings, movies and seminars.

The Masters Games, which started in 1989 and alternate between Whanganui and Dunedin, offers more than 50 sports and will have its official opening ceremony at Cooks Gardens at 6pm on February 3.

Registrations are open for competitors at $60, which rises to $85 on January 14.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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