You’ve been working your butt off since the start of the year. You’ve been kicking ass, taking names, hustlin’, and all of that. You’ve been doing it all with the resilience of a college sophomore intent on getting crazy during Spring Break.
Unfortunately, Spring Break is not a thing in Australia but Easter is, and it’s finally here. Yes! A long, lazy weekend – just when we all need it. It’s time to sit back, relax and put on your bathing suit because there is nowhere better to go than the Peninsula Hot Springs.
If you’re not into wine, delicious food, gorgeous views and friendly people then you can stop reading. I know that kind of thing isn’t for everyone.
If that is your thing then get yourself to Auckland, jump on a ferry from the Fullers terminal, wait 45 minutes and you’ll find yourself in a magical place called Waiheke Island.
A promise was made to my sister and my mom that sheep would be in abundance once we arrived in Queenstown. I was most excited to luge, but they were most excited to see sheep. So, I kept assuring them they would see more sheep than they knew what to do with.
Three days into our trip we had seen no sheep. Not even one!
On the fourth day, my family grew impatient. The trust was broken between us so they started asking around.
“WHERE ARE THE SHEEP?”
“Don’t lie to us. We’ve had a dud informant in the past”, they would say pointing at me standing approximately 5,003 feet behind them.
“Have YOU seen the sheep? ”
“Just, please, point us in the direction of where the sheep live?” my sister said, in desperation.
“Now!” my mom ordered, as she does.
They interrogated the people of Queenstown as if they were filming True Detective season 3 (or Paul Blart: Mall Cop 3). Most people laughed
at with them but, to my surprise, they came back with some good intel.
I’ve eaten at Feast of Merit before. It’s a beautiful cafe in Richmond that serves delicious food with a Middle Eastern twist. I always knew it maintained a farm to table philosophy; I was aware it was an initiative by YGAP (Y-Generation Against Poverty), an incredible charity that supports youth education and leadership projects in Malawi, Ghana, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Australia; I knew that the staff was friendly and the front windows open wide on Summary days for a killer dining scene.
What I didn’t know was that the name “Feast of Merit” comes from an incredible tradition out of Nagaland, a region in North-eastern India. In Naga culture, when someone in the community comes into a position of wealth they can choose to hold a festival called Feast of Merit. The festival brings the community together – rich and poor – to share and enjoy food for days on end.
It’s no wonder why a visit to FOM always feels like a special event.
Recently, I got to taste Feast of Merit’s new Spring menu and hear the chef speak. With a glint in his eye he told us how no other place he’s ever worked has felt like home. And he explained how incredibly grateful he is for the position. There is a place within the walls of Feast of Merit where he can be creative and play with concepts, flavours and textures. He is inspired by his work place, just as his food is. Ultimately, he wanted us to know how much he loves the intricate process behind preparing a meal for Feast of Merit.
I swear I could taste the love in my crumpets. I could also taste the mandarin curd, vanilla and cinnamon labneh and the maple honeycomb!