Guests at a glamorous fundraising dinner will be served thimble-sized portions of alcohol with each course because of concerns about drink-driving and the ability of female guests to handle their liquor.
Wellington chef Martin Bosley, who will prepare food for the event, has labelled the decision by health officials as “ridiculous” and says it could have serious ramifications for other events across the country.
Te Āwhina Marae in Motueka will host a seven-course degustation fundraising dinner with Bosley on June 25.
But the Marae says the Nelson-Marlborough Public Health Service was dissatisfied with limits of 100ml per course, or even 75ml, so it will be down to 50ml.
That equates to one-fifteenth of a standard wine bottle, or less than one-sixth of a 330ml can of beer.
Bosley said the limits were very disappointing.
“Are you syringing it into people’s glasses? It’s just ridiculous” he said.
As a chef, “what we do is about generosity,” Bosley said, adding that the relationship between wine and food was key.
A marae team member, who did not want to be named, said the local Public Health Service health was concerned about drink-driving and the ability of female guests to handle alcohol.
“They didn’t really talk much about the standard drinks for men.”
This was despite the marae hiring at least one bus to shuttle guests who might be travelling from Nelson.
After “protracted negotiations” the marae felt compelled to agree to the 50ml per course limit, the team member said.
It was not clear how the rule would be enforced but serving staff were being trained to serve the tiny amounts.
The Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board and Public Health Service did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
Tony Astle, owner-chef at Antoine’s restaurant in Parnell, Auckland, said the 50ml limit was a case of “bureaucracy gone absolutely berserk”.
“It’s ludicrous and they should be ashamed of themselves.”
A 50 ml maximum serve – insane.