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2010 to be the thousand-burger regatta

by 1 Feb 2009Regatta 20090 comments

David Mooney on hotplate

First of the Five Hundred: David Mooney cooking to perfection the first of the venison hamburger patties. photographer Jason Brown

Some didn’t get to sample the 2009 Monster Mahuburger.

One didn’t deserve to, given he under-ordered. A few even missed out on the hundred that went out Bambi-free—unforgivably, these were also free-range egg ‍–‍free. For the six hundred who got one—or the sailor who bought and consumed three in quick succession—this year’s burgers were a succulent success.

The editor abjectly apologies to those who were not fed.

The previous year, for which the editor also abjectly apologies, was long quantity but short on quality. The only excuse proffered for the execrable fare that year was that it honestly wasn’t appreciated that patties so utterly unredeemable were manufactured. The disappointment of consuming two-thirds of a burger without coming into contact with the pattie was only exceeded by the disappointment of actually coming into contact with one.

A hunger for redemption drove the decision to source one of the best burger patties that money can buy, from Woodburn Venison.

The patties were supplied directly from Napier, at the standard wholesale rate. The company might possibly be persuaded to supply at an even better rate—particularly if deluged with emails of appreciation from regatta goers. You know the sort of thing:

We attended the venerable Mahurangi Regatta where we were served quite the juiciest burger to ever pass our lips. Kinds sirs, where might we procure your most excellent products?—we live in such-in-such a place.

The previous supplier-which-shall-remain-nameless recommended pre-cooked frozen product, on the grounds of public safety. What was in the editor’s head at the time, that he was persuaded by such paucity of advice!—blind panic, probably.

From 2009 on, only the best quality, freshest meat will be bought—an email from Glenys on the Thursday says it all:

Patties sent Wednesday straight to Contract Cuisine. Should be there today. Let me know if there are any problems.

But if something can go wrong…

Sorry, they will be leaving tonight—the girls thought they were going on the truck and therefore didn’t put them on the National Courier—they will go tonight—sorry for this, Glenys

A dash of luck, an obliging driver, an assignation on State Highway 1 and two 25-kilogram Styrofoam boxes of 100-gram heart tick ‍–‍bearing venison patties were safely in Contract Cuisine’s chiller. Shortly followed a phone call from Glenys, checking that the down-to-the-wire delivery hadn’t overshot to Whangarei.

Which recalls an occasion half a lifetime ago involving a similar quest for the perfect pattie. The editor’s business in Waiwera was offered best quality produce at an unbeatable price from the voluminous boot of a powerful, well-travelled American car. And the supplier was also willing to supply patties of truly generous proportions. Only after deliveries ceased without explanation, and headlines reported that a ring of Whangarei meat works employees had been busted for selling stolen meat, did this tyro businessman realise the extent of his naivety.

David Mooney with grinder

Sparks Fly: The bar and burgers will be in resourceful hands from 2010—here new manager David Mooney unceremoniously hacks the padlock off the chiller containing the patties with an angle grinder from his plumber’s van, after the key was lost in the longish grass. photographer Cimino Cole

Meantime, financial sustainability has proved elusive for the prize-giving and dance. Last year the Mahurangi Cruising Club had to kick in $2000, from funds hard-won through the sales of its 2007 yearbook. The year before the Mahurangi Magazine contributed a similar amount.

Ditto, the Rodney District Council, the year before that.

Ditto, the Auckland Regional Council, the year before that.

However, a once-over-lightly of the accounts in time for the traditional regatta post mortem barbecue Monday evening, indicated that the event paid its own way for the first time. Nothing succeeds like success for sparking a memorable party. Or provides the courage to cater generously so that never again will it be the bar with no burgers—new director of bar and burgers David Mooney unequivocal: 1000 burgers will be catered for next year.

That was one of two key decisions taken by the post mortem gathering, the other being that Dave from Contract Cuisine will be the one to which the volunteer galley slaves will unhesitatingly respond ‘Yes chef!’

And the two unopened boxes containing 120 frozen excuses for patties, from January 2008, have finally been consigned to the landfill…

…where they deserved to go directly from the manufacturer.

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