What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’?

Auckland’s answer to bespoke private dining is now at Seafarers.

It has to be seen to be believed – The Matisse Room on Level 5 of the Seafarers Building on Tyler Street is an eye-wateringly beautiful thing; matte black and honey pine surfaces are framed by opulent, ceiling to floor mushroom-coloured drapes and every detail is flawless: from the glassware to the stunning floral installations. Visually, it’s incredible, but that’s just the start.

This is Seafarers’ newest offering. In partnership with Matisse Kitchens the room can cater for groups of 15 to 60 people. Bespoke dining experiences will be led by the city’s finest: the chefs from Ostro and Ebisu, among others, are available for private bookings.

Special packages include:

The Red on Red Dinner – where generous pours of red wine are matched to red meat.
The Glass House – a vegetarian-inspired dinner which turns your 5+ a day into a very decadent affair.
The Edible Cinema – a 5-course pairing of scenes from a selection of blockbuster movies. Dishes are inspired by films like Pulp Fiction, The Hundred Foot Journey, The Grand Budapest Hotel and more.
Chefs and Champagne – a bespoke champagne-paired menu with exciting flavour combinations to tickle the nose and tempt the tastebuds.

The experience is intended to change the way we look at private dining, and we’ve no doubt it will. The Matisse Room is ready for your booking: email events@savorgroup.co.nz and let the events team begin planning an incomparable night.

The Seafarers Members’ Club is opening its doors to a limited number of new members. To get an idea of what the rooftop haunt is all about, we caught up with one of its members; author, advertising analyst, mentor, dad and Taylor Swift enthusiast, James Hurman.

Named the world’s number one advertising strategist in 2013, James Hurman is the founder of innovation consultancy company Previously Unavailable. Dedicated to helping companies grow and create a more successful product, service and customer experience innovations, he’s often found at Seafarers Members’ Club. Working, hosting events or just enjoying a glass of red on the rooftop, we chat with him about the club, his time there and Kim Kardashian.

What can you get from the club that you can’t from an office?
The coffee machine’s never broken and you don’t get looked at sideways when you show up at three in the afternoon. Beyond that it’s different kind of social interaction – a constant supply of interesting new people.

You’re really involved – a bit of a poster boy really – even hosting the ‘Conversations at Sea’ sessions; what is it you like about these events?
I like my guests. I try to find interesting people – the kinds of people that I would want to sit down to dinner with – and then talk to them about their most interesting aspects.

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Kim Kardashian and Kobe Bryant were denied memberships to LA’s Soho House (apparently there was a bit of a debate over ol’ Britney too), if you were in charge, is there anyone you would turn away?
I don’t think so – in fact I would love to meet all three of those people […] For me it’s more about an environment and culture that draws out the best in everyone who comes.

Ok then, on the flip side, who would you like to invite in?
I hope if and when Helen Clark returns to live in New Zealand that she will join. My dream table of guests would be: Lorde, Taylor Swift, Daniel Kahneman, Alain de Botton and Louis C.K.

Have you visited any of the reciprocal clubs yet?
I haven’t but I’m really looking forward to doing so.

Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met at the club?
Probably Alison Gopnik who is one of the world’s leading child psychologists and the wife of Pixar founder Alvy Ray Smith. She was a pretty incredible woman.

Shoreditch Club doesn’t let anyone wearing a suit in, also bankers are banned. If you could make a rule for SMC, what would it be?
I would probably remove all access to the NZ Herald as it’s such a disappointment and embarrassment to all of us – and hope they took some notice and resolved to create something worthwhile.

Before sitting down to write, Stephen King will always eat a single slice of cheesecake. Writing your book, The Case for Creativity, did you pick up any pre-work rituals?
I love to write in the evening while drinking red wine. There was a lot of that.

Do you think you’ve got another one in you?
Yes and I’m working on two at the moment, plus a 2016 edition of The Case for Creativity which will be launched at the Cannes Lions next year.

What’s next for Previously Unavailable?
We’re doing a video app, which will keep the New Zealand business community updated with what’s happening in the world of innovation. Beyond that we have several exciting client projects in the works, and which will come into the world over the next 18 months.

To read more about James and Previously Unavailable, visit his site – the blog is a particularly inspiring form of procrastination.

For more information on the Seafarers Members’ Club and the opportunity to apply for a membership, email membership@seafarersclub.co.nz. Conditions apply.