On 13 September, ANZCCJ together with the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry co-hosted the Gourmet Food & Wine Garden Party at the Australian Embassy. The night marked the eighth anniversary ANZCCJ had hosted the event, every occasion being hosted in the Australian Embassy gardens. This year, the event was also included as part of the Australia now programme, attracting an even more diverse range of guests than usual, along to the event.
The night drew 240 guests from over 60 different industries to celebrate enduring business connections between Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
ANZCCJ Chair, Andrew Gauci, addressed attendees, commenting on the diversity in audience as a reflection on the diversity in business relations between Australia, New Zealand and Japan, something he has seen as an ongoing trend over the past 21 years that he has been in Japan.
This diversity was reflected in the evening’s menu, catered by Salt restaurant, which showcased a broad range of Australian and New Zealand ingredients and flavours.
Iconic businesses Fonterra, Harnets, ANZCO, Zespri, Meat and Livestock Australia, and Citrus Australia all contributed ingredients for the occasion. Additionally, door prizes were generously gifted by ANZCCJ members Qantas, Salt and KOB.
Speeches for the evening highlighted the value of cooperation between countries and organisations. Australian Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, Bassim Blazey, emphasised the mutual effort made by the chambers of commerce and embassies to strengthen bilateral ties.
And adding to this, New Zealand Ambassador, HE Stephen Payton, spoke of the importance of Australia and New Zealand continuing to work together to maintain their strong reputation for quality products and services in Japan – especially in the face of growing competition from Japan’s other key trading partners with increasing trade access (for example, the EU’s EPA with Japan).
A common thread or theme throughout the night was how important it was for all stakeholders to continue building and leveraging on the brand and reputation that Australia and New Zealand have in Japan, especially in the food and beverage industries. This would continue to be important for Australian and New Zealand companies who were seen, to date, as producing high quality, environmentally friendly and innovative food and beverage products. And on this note ANZCCJ Chair Emeritus, Melanie Brock, gave a toast, thanking Japanese consumers for their ongoing commitment to Australian and New Zealand products.
Guest speaker and Goodwill Ambassador for Australia now, Toshio Shiba shared about his own perspective as a Japanese consumer. He said the quality had continued to rise from products brought in from Australia and New Zealand and encouraged collaboration to take place that would educate Japanese consumers about the kinds of products we can offer. Shiba started Club Australia, a not-for-profit organisation, ten years ago. Since then, he’s gathered 2200 members who voluntarily share their love of Australian culture with Japan.
The top door prize for the night – an economy ticket to Australia, flying with Qantas – was won by Tomoko Haga from Lendlease Japan. Reiko Kiuchi won the lunch for two at Salt Grill & Tapas Bar (soon to be renamed IronBark Grill & Bar) and Kenichi Harikae from the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group won the selection of teas and honeys from KOB.
The evening was brought to a close by ANZCCJ Food, Agriculture and Hospitality Committee Chair, Tim Barnstable, who thanked the vendors for making the evening possible.
This included Treasury Wine Estates, Jeroboam and Village Cellars who provided the wine selection; Little Creatures, Mojo and KOB who provided beer, coffee and tea; Dello Mano and Pana Chocolate who served guests sweet treats throughout the night; and Verde who supplied the flowers that decorated the venue.