Tauranga’s infamous pop-up restaurant has joined forces with Maketu’s culinary superstars, to bring an immersive dining experience that celebrates Taiao, – ‘our natural world.’

In a first-ever collaboration, Kitchen Takeover and celebrity chefs Kārena and Kasey Bird will present ‘The Taiao Edition – Food of the Gods’, a deeply cultural, locally-inspired, fine-dining feast that honours the Atua Māori – Gods of the natural world.

Set in a secret location, every Thursday – Saturday night from February 25 to April 10 2021, the Kitchen Takeover series will deliver guests with a multi course, pop-up dining experience, created by the two highly-respected chefs.

Alongside the six-course degustation dinner, with beverages to match, Maketu sisters, Kasey and Kārena will create dishes with a strong New Zealand identity, that draw from their whakapapa and upbringing, whilst still focusing on provenance and sustainability.

The two queens of kai and the team of Kitchen Takeover chefs, will present a series of courses inspired by an Atua Māori, the legendary Māori god who is the kaitiaki of that realm. Including the Atua of the forest, Tānemāhuta and Rongo, which represents peace and cultivated food.

No strangers to delivering an unforgettable Maori-storytelling food experience, much like The Creation Dinner, hosted by the Bird sisters in Rotorua in early 2018. Each dish will be presented alongside eloquent storytelling that will entice the senses both on and off the plate. Kārena Bird says “We are delighted to be collaborating with Stacey Jones at Kitchen Takeover, to shine a light through the Māori perspective, on the ways in which we relate to the natural world, and showcase an immersive celebration of our kai.”

Since winning Masterchef in 2014, Kasey and Kārena have travelled to over 50 destinations across the globe and have met chefs at the forefront of gastronomy. Combining the envelope-pushing techniques with strong family traditions, using traditional Māori cooking techniques, flavours and ingredients, on the plate will be some of Aotearoa’s best produce with an emphasis on local Bay of Plenty producers, growers and makers.

Off the back of another highly successful ‘Eat Your Memories’ restaurant series, Kitchen Takeover Founder and Foodie Stacey Jones says – “I’m super excited to have Kasey and Kārena join us for this incredibly special pop up restaurant series. At Kitchen Takeover, we are constantly raising the bar to deliver the best and most unique edible experiences that New Zealand has to offer.

“Tickets to our previous events have sold out in less than 12 hours, so I’m sure this one will be no exception.”

The menu will contain basketfuls of bounty from the ocean to the land including: kaimoana meat, fruit and more. Based on this native nourishment, there will be two dietary alternatives available – including gluten-free and pescatarian.

However vegans, and vegetarians can look forward to the next pop up restaurant which will kick off in mid-2021. Tickets range from $149 and include six courses plus a welcome cocktail or mocktail. There will be an option for a two glass wine match or non-alcoholic drinks match ($29) or four glass wine match ($49). To register for tickets go to kitchentakeover.co.nz Tickets will go on sale next Thursday, December 3.

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