Meet the mastermind behind Taste of Plenty

“People come from all over the world to try food grown and produced in the Bay. That’s why I design bespoke food tours.”

Well-known local foodie Kathrin Chappell, from Lavish Foods, creates special cuisine experiences, including the Taste of Plenty “Bites of the Bay” tours. The former LA chef to the stars is passionate about the Bay’s food scene and her enthusiasm is contagious.

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“We’ve got some amazing people doing some great stuff here. I’d estimate, though, that about 90% of locals don’t know what’s on their own doorstep. Bay of Plenty is an amazing place to live. It’s so special to me.”

Kathrin is a fifth generation Kiwi but moved with her family to Vancouver at the age of four. Her earliest memories are of hearty stews with dumplings made by her grandmother when she visited them from New Zealand and of her father’s love of growing his own produce.

“He was the quintessential Kiwi guy with a little potato patch in the back yard or on the patio of the high rise where we lived. At one house, he planted sweet peas on the front porch and at the end of summer, you’d hear them snap in the cold. My parents weren’t gourmet cooks, but they made clean, healthy food from their own ingredients.”

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When she was 12, Kathrin told the owner of a diner that she was 16 to secure a job as a short order chef. Now, Kathrin is a highly regarded personal chef and thrilled to be part of Tourism Bay of Plenty’s collaborative organisation, “Flavours of Plenty”. 

“I can see that it will really showcase what we have and push us to up our game. It’s a great initiative. We have such fresh thinkers here. We have immigrants who’ve brought influences from their home countries, and we have Kiwi chefs who’ve trained overseas and come back for the Bay of Plenty lifestyle.”

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Kathrin has been running food tours for seven years.

“When I first got to Tauranga, there was no real foodie scene. In fact, I would drive up to Auckland to do my grocery shopping. About eight years ago, it just started to boom, and we now have a lot to be proud of. I take my tours ‘off the eaten track’. I have a tonne of little gems up my sleeve.”

Kathrin is passionate about the talent in the Bay. She can see, though, that some find it hard to ‘toot their own horn’ and believes that’s something she can help with.

“I want to be the quintessential ambassador for Bay of Plenty people who make great food. I want to spread the word and I want locals to get enthusiastic. Go to our farmers’ markets, go to our street markets, go to restaurants and bars. Try something new. I’m very passionate about what we have here. Like a yawn or a smile, passion catches on. They all deserve to be famous.” ---  Grid