After gaining a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, Philippa Potaka spent 20 years overseas working in five star hotels and high-end restaurants. Latterly, she helped set up The Bach Eatery – an award-winning Kiwi-themed restaurant in Sydney.
Despite success in Australia, she yearned to come home and began dreaming up a home-based business for New Zealand.
Philippa came up with The Village Picnic, which supplies carefully-curated gift and picnic hampers for all occasions – whether it be for a mystery date, a corporate function or Friday night nibbles after work – with the emphasis on locally sourced contents.
“I’ve always been a big supporter of this region and the products that come out of it. Some of them we used with great success at our restaurant in Australia,” she says.
Order a Village Picnic hamper and your choices to fill it include Matakana smoked salmon, Puhoi cheese, Matakana chocolate, and kombucha from Omaha.
To complement the local selections, Philippa has scoured the country for artisan producers of the best charcuterie, pate, seeded crackers, spicy mixed nuts and smoked snapper.
“I have an eye for detail with my hospitality experience and a taste for good things,” she says.
Gift selections can include beautifully crafted chopping boards, candles, Matakana’s famous cookbook,
The Village Table, and even a large platter in the form of a mini-picnic table with fold-up legs. Meanwhile, picnic baskets come with an eco-friendly compostable, insulated pouch to keep chilled items suitably cool.
In addition to having the right items, Philippa says presentation is a key part of The Village Picnic approach. She uses traditional Maori woven flax baskets and she likes to ask questions about the recipient to deliver something that suits their taste and style.
“I love to see people enjoying good quality food around the people they love,” she says.