Noosa International Food and Wine Festival 2012 – FOODIE HEAVEN!

This event is the largest on the Australian foodie calendar, with 26,000 hungry food lovers attending each year. As you can imagine I was absolutelyjumping out of my skin with excitement and anticipation in being able to revel in foodie land for four glorious days in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. The combination of sun, surf, food and wine all under one shining blue sky created the atmosphere of absolute foodie heaven.

I have been trying for several days now to think of one word to sum up the festival and the word I would like to use is ‘vivacious’. In the dictionary ‘vivacious’ means ‘full of high spirits, animation or life’ and I believe this word applies to all aspects of the food festival including the chefs, festival go-ers, staff, and of course the food and wine.

Walking around the event, it was inspiring to see the thousands of people gathered in one place to share their passion and love for food, witness the smiles on their faces and hear the laughter in the air. This festival has such a relaxed atmosphere where chefs wait all year to catch up with fellow chefs, but also enjoy mingling amongst the crowds and meeting the festival goers to talk all things food and wine.

So what made the festival so VIVACIOUS?

The standard of chefs and cooks presenting at the festival was high, and you could in fact call them ‘cullinary royalty’. The likes of Adriano Zumbo, Daniel Hong from ‘MS.G’s', Poh Ling  Yeow, Martin Boetz from ‘Longrain’, Teage Ezard from ‘Ezards’, Mark Best from ‘Marque’, Ben Shewry from ‘Attica’, There was also Alessandro Pavoni from ‘Ormeggio’, Giovanni Pilu from ‘Freshwater’ Peter Kuravita from ‘The Flying Fish’ and hit tv show My Sri Lanka. Sean Preston and Shinichi Maeda from ‘Sake Restaurant’, Justin North from ‘Becasse’, Jacques Raymond, and Phillip Johnson from ‘E’cco Bistro’.

 Adriano Zumbo

With a packed out enthusiastic crowd in the ILVE auditorium, Mr Willy Wonka himself showed us how to make weird and wonderful dessert treats. The dessert master! I was lucky enough to meet Mr Zumbo, and even got handed one of his delicous desserts. See more photo’s from this presentation here

Dessert God Adriano Zumbo

The dessert god in action

So very lucky to meet the dessert master

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A lucky and very excited lady indeed: got handed a special Zumbo dessert

SAKE RESTAURANT – Chef Shaun Presland and Shinichi Maeda

Chefs Shaun Presland and Shinichi Maeda, from the award winning one hat restaurant ‘Sake’ presented a fabulous take on Japanese cooking. You may recognise Shaun from Masterchef. As you can see by the photograph below, their presentation was full of flair, fun and flavour. See more photo’s from this presentation here

Sake’s Burramundi Sashimi – delicious!

Fresh, vibrant sashimi

The Master Chef Crew

The Master chef team were also there: Matt Preston, Julie Goodwin, Adam Liaw and Kate Bracks. The crew cooked up a feast of which the crowd loved and watched with intent. With a combination of personality and fabulous cooking skills, these Masterchef contestants are all great cooks in their own right.

Masterchef Adam Liaw

Masterchefs Adam Liaw, Julie Goodwin and Kate Brack on the main stage

Maggie Beer and Simon Bryant – The Cook and the Chef

Maggie and Simon from the hit television show ‘The Cook and the Chef’ cooked up a storm on stage on the Thursday night. They were  backed by an entrancing live performance by the Qld Orchestra and flautist extrordinaire Jane Rutter. There was plucking of pheasants, chopping of ducks, delicious dumplings, and loads of laughs. The thousands of people in the audience loved every moment. Simon and Maggie melded so well together and are an absolute favourite of mine. Last month, I had set a personal goal to meet Maggie within the next 3 years and secretly I thought this would never happen. Low and behold, my dream came true at the food festival. You can take a peek at the full story on this event here

One of the happiest moments of my life: meeting Maggie Beer

Simon Bryant cooking up a storm

My idol Maggie Beer

Strings and Straw – At Freestyle Escape

A fabulous outdoor luncheon held in the Blackall Ranges at Martin Duncans wonderful ‘Freestyle Escape’.  A glorious property which houses luxury accomodation, an artists residence and art classes, cooking school, an orchard and self sufficient edible garden. Australia’s great chef Stephanie Alexander spoke passioniately over lunch about her approach to sustainable produce and growing your own food as well as the legacy of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Foundation.  A delicious culinary storm was cooked up by Mark Jensen from ‘Red Lantern’, Cameron Mathews from ‘The Long Apron’ ,and John Barthelmess from the new hot spot ‘The Apollo’. Owner Martin Dancan, known for his desserts served a delectable treat to finish off the lunch. You can see the full album of photos here

Meeting one of my idols ‘Stephanie Alexander’ one of Australias food pioneers and founder of the ‘Kitchen Garden Program’ aimed at getting children to grow, cook and eat fruit and vegetables.

The very tall Long Apron Chef Cameron Matthews with the tiny Nutrition Guru

The innovative creation by chef Cameron Matthews of The Long Apron. This feast for the senses included snail filled with nasturtium puree, spring onions with creme fraiche, buffalo mozarella wrapped in lemon leaf, barley grass, pork rillete and beef tartare

Mark Jensen from the Red Lantern who has a wonderful food philosophy: Eat sustainably, grow your own food, and exercise. Pictured here presenting his lunch dish ‘traditional Vietnamese Beef Bo Kho with chille, spices and tomato

International Chefs

The food festival also had such international star chefs as Fergus Henderson from London, Alvin Leung ‘The Maverick Chef’ from Hong Kong, David Thompson from London and the Italian love god Davide Scabin from Italy. The standard of presentations at the festival was world class, with  all demonstrations being streamed live to large screens on the stage giving spectators the opportunity to see  the chefs and the food from all vantage points.

THE FOOD

One of the standout features of the feed festival is the vast array of delicious high class food on offer. The ILVE auditoriums housed a huge selection of food producers and their wares. Some of the biggest names in food produce were here. Foodies were able to follow their nose and stroll through the stalls, taste test all the devine foods, sample the fine wines and speak to the food and wine producers.

Japanese style char grilled ocean trout – from Wasabi restaurant where ‘The Chef’ works

Crowds gathering in the ILVE auditorium to sample the fresh produce

The Entertainment

Fun, loud, and fantastic: Sneaky Sound System, The Martini  Club, the Fabulous Singlettes, Anthony Callea and Pocket Love who all had the crowds up and dancing, showing that this event is all about having fun.

Anthony Callea

Thankyou

So you can see here, that the combination of the people, the food, the wine, the location, the chefs is what made this such a ’vivacious’ event. I had the most fabulous four days in Noosa and can’t wait to do it again next year. If you are looking to spend some time in the ultimate foodie heaven, be sure to head to the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival next year.

For more stories on the festival:

I was so happy to be at the food fest, that I was trying to give the super handsome ILVE man a huge thankyou hug.

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