With just 18 days before the doors open, the new look Taste of Melbourne has revealed its full line up including 12 showcase restaurants and 22 top chefs, set to take over the MCG’s Yarra Park from 30 November to 3 December 2017.
Participating chefs and restaurants include: Frank Camorra from iconic Melbourne tapas temple MoVida; George Calombaris from Melbourne Greek favourites The Press Club, Gazi, Hellenic Republic, Jimmy Grants; Robin Wickens from family-owned pub and meat-lovers paradise The Royal Mail; and Sandeep Rawata and Janral Singh from St Kilda and Hawthorn’s sleek Indian restaurants Piquancy and Babu Ji.
Nelly Robinson, whose flair and creativity is the driving force behind the amazing nel. and Nathan Sasi, renowned for his nose-to-tail ethos at Moorish Spanish restaurant Mercado, are joining forces to represent Sydney in a battle of the restaurants. On their home turf in the ultimate city cook-off are globe trotting chef Charlie Carrington from the adventurous, multiculturally inspired Atlas Diningand Peter Gunn from Collingwood’s sophisticated multi-course mecca IDES.
In an Australian first, Dan Hunter from Brae, Sam Pinzone and Geoff Lindsay from Dandelion and Raymond Capaldi will create a delicious menu and limited-edition dish with a percentage of proceeds supporting the R U OK? campaign.
And in another first, participating chefs and restaurants – including Michael Smith from Mamasita, George Calombaris and Reuben Davis from The Press Club, Scott Pickett from ESP, Christy Tania from Glacé and Liz Contini from Shadowboxer – will be collaborating with cutting edge visual artists to create signature dishes and artworks in the Creative Collabs initiative.
Completing the impressive chefs’ line-up is Matt Wilkinson from The Pie Shop who will be working with premium Barcelona beer Estrella Damm to create the ultimate gourmet steak and beer pie. The Estrella Damm Bar will also see genuine Spanish imports flow on tap, offering festival goers an ice-cold break in a gastro garden bar setting.
Guests at Taste of Melbourne can also get up close and personal with six of Australia’s star chefs and enjoy the food they present, during 18 intimate Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets masterclasses, including: Nelly Robinson from nel., Scott Pickett from Estelle by Scott Pickett (ESP); Reuben Davis, executive chef at The Press Club; Jo Barrett from Oakridge; Matt McConnell of Bar Lourinhã, and Charlie Carrington from Atlas Dining. A popular festival favourite, sessions are limited to 16 people.
Other tempting elements to the four day foodie festival, will include hourly “Table Talks” covering topics as diverse as tea, smoking, bread making, mushroom growing, popcorn masterclasses, sake, rum, absinthe and chocolate. These sessions will delight those who love to learn with an unexpected series of thought-provoking discussions providing rare insight into the nitty gritty of the food industry and its people.
A gin-blending masterclass, hosted by Archie Rose Distilling Co. invites crafty spirit-loving festival-goers to learn the art of distilling, whilst blending a batch to their liking to be whipped up into a cocktail and having their tailored 700ml bottle of their own blended gin recipe dispatched from the distillery to their door. The luxurious Taste Tipis will offer a personal host, private bar and tailored Taste experience. For a first-class Taste experience, the new VIP Luxe Lounge and stylish corporate suites are also available for group entertaining.
In a protein-rich session with Meat & Livestock Australia in the Cooks’ Corner, MLA’s resident butcher Doug Piper and corporate chef Sam Bourke will demonstrate nose-to-tail eating, from butchery to cooking, as families and home chefs gather on the hay bales and balance a plate of lamb or beef on their lap.
And for the younger festival-goers, Taste’s first ever Family Fun Day on Sunday 3 December will invite families to feast, bake, paint and learn together with a special emphasis on hands-on learning. YouTube sensation Grace from popular kids’ channels Grace’s World and Grace’s Room will delight the younger ones with a live demonstration of one of her favourite recipes with Gregory Llewellyn in the Electrolux Taste Theatre in association with Etihad Airways.
A hands-on baking class with premium butter Lurpak will invite festival goers and fledgling patissiers to create hazelnut ganache and lemon curd sweet tarts and apple tarte tatin with pomegranate molasses in the new Lurpak Bakery.
With its theme of culture and cuisine colliding, this year’s Taste of Melbourne will see families, foodies and curious shoppers meandering through laneways of more than 70 artisan producers and gathering for gourmet picnics by day.
By night, the park’s canopy of trees will glow with glittering and neon lights as delicious dishes and drinks traverse the festival. The 10th Birthday Bash and After Dark Party in partnership with PBS will welcome guests into a bohemian sanctuary, furnished with Persian rugs, luxurious poufs, deep couches and low lighting under a canopy of elms complete with dance floor, stage and DJ decks.
The ultimate table booking and restaurant guide Dimmi, will also be part of the new look Taste, as well as Australia’s original wine club and peerless experts, The Wine Society.
American Express has also come on board to create a casual dining precinct featuring selected restaurants and card members will see multiple benefits including access to a private lounge with waiter services, express entry, and festival restaurant discounts.
Taste Festival Australia director Kristy Austin said this year’s festival embraced Melbourne’s creative heartbeat to celebrate good taste in its many manifestations.
“Melbourne is famous the world over for its star chefs, diverse culture and culinary entertainment. This year, we bring them all together with local creatives to curate a collision of cuisine and culture that can only be experienced at the festival,” Ms Austin said.
Taste of Melbourne in partnership with Electrolux and major partners: Etihad Airways, American Express, Lurpak, Estrella Damm and the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC). For more information on Taste of Melbourne, please visit the website.
What: Taste of Melbourne When: Thursday 30 November to Sunday 3 December 2017 Where: Yarra Park (MCG), Wellington Parade, East Melbourne VIC 3002 Tickets: On sale from 2 October 2017