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Food truck set to rock on

Pink Floyd Experience co-founder and guitarist Darren ‘Daz’ Whittaker, with Featherston catering couple Paula and Aaron Peters. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
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A Featherston couple are getting a taste of rock and roll life on the road, touring New Zealand with the Pink Floyd Experience.

Paula and Aaron Peters will be feeding the musicians and crew of the renowned tribute band from their food caravan, which will get a makeover based on the ‘The Wall’ album cover.

The couple had not long started their catering business, Kiwi Coffee & Kai Catering, before striking up a friendship with band members that will lead them on an exciting adventure.

The 2019 May/June tour across the country will help raise the profile of the Peters’ business, which has already been signed up for local events, including Wings over Wairarapa and the Wairarapa Balloon Festival.

“We’re so excited,” Paula said. “It’s bringing us up to the next level.”

Paula has always been a foodie, having picked up her cooking skills through many years of working in hospitality.

She takes control of the menu and cooking, while her husband sticks with the prep work and is responsible for the handyman jobs, such as converting trailers into kitchen spaces.

The couple began their first business together just three years ago in the form of a small coffee cart that was situated at the bottom of the Remutaka Hill in Featherston.

Within six months, they had 200 regular customers and it wasn’t long until someone came along and purchased the business, providing the couple with funds for their wedding.

Since then, the Peters have moved into food, upsized their trailer twice, and are regulars at events and markets around the Wairarapa region, including the Featherston Market every Saturday.

The couple crossed paths with the Pink Floyd Experience when Paula was helping a friend make a documentary about the band on tour last year.

Pink Floyd Experience co-founder Darren ‘Daz’ Whittaker said Paula “teased” the band with her cooking talents, giving them jars of relishes and other tasty items she had created.

At the end of the 2017 tour, she told them about her catering business, and continued to prove her skills to band members by cooking them up banquets on a regular basis.

Whittaker said, “it seemed to be the perfect fit”, as the couple had a natural instinct for “on-tour etiquette” and a fun and easygoing vibe.

“As we got to know them, I thought this is a good opportunity for us and it’s a good opportunity for them, it benefits us all and I think it’s something we could do every year hopefully.”

He said the band had taken a qualified chef on the past three tours and it had been “a disaster”, with the chef caught serving up dishes from takeaway restaurants as his own.

Next June, the Pink Floyd Experience will put on 15 shows around New Zealand.

Whittaker, a guitarist, said unfortunately there was no venue in Wairarapa big enough to accommodate the show, but he had a soft spot for the region.

From Wellington, he said he regularly played in Masterton pubs as a young musician, and Solway was one of two places the Pink Floyd Experience first performed in about 1998.

“I’m really excited about working with this little company from Wairarapa– we’re going to help put them on the map,” Whittaker said.

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