Are we miss­ing out on the next tourist boom?

Restau­rant owner says towns can reap re­wards of food fo­cus

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Emily Smith

LO­CALLY grown might be taken for granted for peo­ple liv­ing in the coun­try, but it can draw city peo­ple in like a fish to wa­ter.

Mar­ket­ing the “pad­dock to plate” idea is spark­ing a new wave of culi­nary tourism across the coun­try.

“City peo­ple are start­ing to ap­pre­ci­ate the real flavours in fresh food,” North Bur­nett coun­cil­lor Paul Lobegeier said.

“Grey no­mads are happy to treat them­selves to good coun­try food and good ser­vice.”

It’s an idea Bund­aberg restau­ra­teur Amanda Hinds has em­braced and wants North Bur­nett busi­nesses to chase.

THE key to the heart of many a true blue Aussie is through their stom­ach, and it turns out tourists are no ex­cep­tion.

In Bund­aberg, restau­rants like In­dulge are rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the tourist mar­ket with their “grown lo­cally” theme and owner Amanda Hinds thinks it’s an idea the North Bur­nett should take up.

“We know where ev­ery­thing comes from and we mar­ket that on our menu,” Mrs Hinds said.

“All our pork comes from Monto, and we make sure the cus­tomers know all about that.”

As they only use prod­ucts from the Bund­aberg and North Bur­nett re­gions, Mrs Hinds said their menu changed con­stantly to make the most of what was in sea­son.

“Tourists are shocked when they come in, they’ve never seen any­thing like it,” she said.

“I guess that’s what gives us our wow fac­tor, so I ab­so­lutely think it’s a great op­tion to ex­pand tourism all over the re­gion.

“It’s about lo­cal restau­rants and lo­cal grow­ers work­ing to­gether.

“In Gayn­dah, there should be a restau­rant that serves up a cit­rus cake made with lo­cal cit­rus. “Peo­ple would love that.” Mrs Hinds said lo­cals loved the idea as well, be­cause they not only know the chef but also the grower.

And that way, lo­cal pro­duc­ers get a slice of the tourism pie.

“I got the idea (for the In­dulge restau­rant) when I was grow­ing up on a cat­tle prop­erty at Ban Ban Springs,” Mrs Hinds said.

“I thought I should be map­ping my menu around what we had here al­ready, not what ev­ery­one else had.”

The pulling power of culi­nary tourism was on dis­play at the State Gov­ern­ment’s an­nual Des­ti­na­tion Q tourism fo­rum last month, which North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil­lor Paul Lobegeier at­tended.

“Au­then­tic coun­try food and good ser­vice are some­thing grey no­mads are chas­ing, and it’s some­thing they are will­ing to treat them­selves to,” Cr Lobegeier said.

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