In March this year, New Zealand Restaurant Association president, Mike Egan, announced: “Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s answer to France’s Provence.”
Now, in terms of the region’s fare, I’ve always struggled with the European comparison; not because the association causes embarrassment, but because it underscores our prevailing sense of culinary cringe.

That’s why Food Hawke’s Bay’s current “Signature Dish” promotion is so intriguing.

On the one hand I’m thrilled with the quest to best articulate what our food’s all about – yet terrified the winning dish will end up being a play on an already flogged Mediterranean theme.

And I doubt I’m the only ambivalent one.

It seems as our region struggles with its newfound epicurean status, we’re split on how to best season the success.

Just take Bay chef Kent Baddeley’s comments earlier in the week. “How on earth can one dish represent a region? Name me one city in the world with a signature dish? We don’t buy into the HB signature dish idea, and are a little peeved that Food Hawke’s Bay just barged their way into our arena.”
Arena indeed.

So, while foodies piss on trees, and someone in the colosseum is crowned culinary Caesar, BayBuzz would like to hear your views.

Do you think there’s such a thing as a signature Hawke’s Bay dish? If so, what would you serve up?

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