Appetite for fun


Foodies and their appetites will be out in force during Winter Festival. 

Local gourmets are already licking their lips over two appearances by New Zealand celebrity chef Peter Thornley, who heads the new Hilton Queenstown’s signature restaurant Wakatipu Grill. 

Thornley and longtime offsider Brian Campbell will be conducting in the kitchen for the June 26 American Express Big Brunch – and the former also hosts Life of Pinot with Peter Thornley on July 3. 

Cuisine aside, both events will be a good excuse to have a nosey at the new Hilton – Queenstown’s second five-star hotel after the Sofitel – and Kawarau Hotel next door. 

Fine food also features at six other top festival events – the Gen-I Business Lunch, Deutz Masquerade Ball, Dinner with Mark Best, Skyline Murder Mystery, Private Dinner Club at Searle Lane and Social hosted by ex-All Black Grahame Thorne and the Stoneleigh Jazz Night. 

The Thornley name will be well-known to local foodies. 

His restaurant CV includes Icon at Wellington’s Te Papa, Bracu and Kermadec in Auckland, Thornley’s in Christchurch and The French Farm near Akaroa. 

Thornley, a media personality, has received many national and international cuisine awards. 

Foodie events are front of mind with Festival organiser Simon Green: “They reflect the added style and sophistication we’ve been trying to build into the programme.” 

Previous festivals have featured cookery masterclasses by the likes of Al Brown and Ray McVinnie and they’ve been very popular too – and will return, Green adds.