Cooking for a cause: Baskets of Blessing coordinator Lee Nicolson and Walter Peak executive chef Mauro Battaglia


With no tourists to cook for, Real Journeys Walter Peak and Canyon Brewing chefs are cooking up a storm for Queenstowners affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Using Canyon Brewing’s kitchen, they’ve cooked almost 1800 meals for local charity, Baskets of Blessing, to distribute.

Walter Peak executive chef Mauro Battaglia says he was delighted 13 chefs answered his call for volunteers.

Most of the food they work with is supplied by another charity, KiwiHarvest, which collects unsold supermarket food.

When Battaglia visited Baskets of Blessing to pick up ingredients, he was surprised to find its walk-in freezer had been bought from the proceeds of Real Journeys’ charity Cruise-for-a-Cause to Doubtful Sound last year.

Meantime, Hanna Wagner, Canyon Brewing’s sous chef, already cooked 1000-plus meals for the charity before teaming up with her fellow chefs.