The first iteration of Everybody Eats will take place in Christchurch today, in collaboration with Welles Street Pub, Street Wise and the Food Resilience Network. Everybody Eats founder Nick Loosley said that the decision to bring the concept to the South Island’s largest city was, quite simply, because they asked.

“A lot of people got in touch during our crowd-funding campaign,” he said. “There were organisations that wanted to collaborate.”

The pay-as-you-feel dining concept served three 100 person sittings of a three-course meal, cooked from donated food with the help of volunteers. The concept has been hugely successful in Auckland, run out of Gemmayze Street on Karangahape Road, and Loosley said that the move south was also an experiment.

“We also wanted to see how it would translate to somewhere out of Auckland. The South Island is different from the North Island in many respects, we’ll be testing how well it works.”

The team at Welles Street took the lead in the kitchen, with local chefs and restaurateurs also pitching in to help. Despite being the first time in the city, the event booked out fast, although there will be spaces reserved for people without bookings.

“We’re really happy with the response, and Michael [Reynolds, from the Food Resilience Network] and River [Jayden, from Street Wise] have been fantastic.”