Desmond Davies Desmond Davies

International Chef to lead Te Pae Christchurch culinary team 

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre is set to showcase local food and produce with a global flavour, with the appointment of international chef Desmond Davies.

Leaving his role as executive chef at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, Mr Davies joins Te Pae Christchurch with over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality sector across Malaysia, Africa and Europe. Born in South Africa, Mr Davies worked in convention centres in Borneo and Durban after time spent as part of the catering team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Durban, which saw the team cook more than 45,000 meals for VIP clients over seven days.

Davies said he is looking forward to experimenting with fresh and locally sourced foods, and drawing inspiration from both local and international styles and flavours.

“I like to use local ingredients where I can, to ensure that the meal is the best quality it can be. I also enjoy creating classic dishes that really make the local ingredients stand out,” Davies says.

Davies sees Te Pae Christchurch as a local leader in the culinary sector, particularly given its ability to highlight the quality of local food production to a diverse international audience.

“To sit alongside the top convention centres, you obviously need to have excellent food. But it also comes down to being flexible and having the ability to customise menus to each client – and being able to say ‘yes’ to all their requirements,”  Davies says.

“We want to be a leader in the city and work alongside the local hospitality scene to be on top of our game. We have some great restaurants in Christchurch and I think the expectations of delegates will be surpassed by what we have here in the city.”

Te Pae Christchurch will offer a wide range of dining options, from menus designed for small groups, to large scale dinners and events. With a number of dedicated dining areas within the venue, including two waterfront river dining rooms overlooking the Otakaro Avon River with seating for 1,000, Te Pae Christchurch can cater banquets for up to 1,800 people.

Davies joins Christchurch local Sandra Hintz in the Te Pae Christchurch culinary team.  Hintz, who has nearly 30 years’ experience in the food and beverage industry was previously Events and Administration Manager at Christchurch Casino, responsible for planning all events across the food and beverage department.

General Manger Ross Steele says awareness of Te Pae Christchurch is continuing to increase, allowing the venue to attract a high quality of local and international talent to its ranks.

“As our presence in the market grows, we are finding a number of talented individuals have seen the potential of Te Pae Christchurch, and in particular the international reach meets local approach that comes with being part of ASM Global. They want to come onboard, share their skills and grow their career by working as part of our Christchurch-based team.”

Director of Culinary Services Darren Tait said Te Pae Christchurch was extremely pleased to welcome culinary experts of this calibre to the organisation.

“We’ve been able to draw on both international experience and local knowledge to make Te Pae Christchurch the best it can be,” Tait says.

He said that experience will be an ideal way to showcase the best the region has to offer. Te Pae Christchurch aims to have a Canterbury element in every dish and will do their best to source everything locally.

“We will look to Canterbury first and if we can’t source something locally we will then expand our sights to the wider South Island”.

Davies sayshe has big ambitions for the culinary team at Te Pae Christchurch.

“I would like Te Pae Christchurch to be put on the culinary map. I want it to be a convention centre for foodies – where you get to experience local produce from the Canterbury region”.