Have chef, will travel
MOREAustralians are looking to enhance their holidays by expanding their knowledge of food culture. Where once we might have limited ourselves to a brief hotel cooking class, now nothing is out of reach for the gourmet traveller, whether it be a private lesson at a Michelin-starred restaurant or having a celebrated chef as a personal tour guide.
With ‘‘insider secrets’’ now a tourism buzz phrase, an increasing number of high-profile cooks and television personalities are hitting the road to reveal hidden culinary gems in their neighbourhoods or ancestral homes, whether it’s a tour of Sydney’s multicultural Cabramatta with Luke Nguyen or seeing Sri Lanka through the eyes of SBS favourite Peter Kuruvita (P6).
The chance to experience off-the-beaten-track markets and private cellar doors, dine at handpicked restaurants and share downtime with our food heroes is intoxicating, and the reason chef-led tours are a booming sector in the travel market.
Among the many food personalities hitting the road this year will be Aussie food doyenne Maggie Beer, who will join an Eastern Europe TravelRussian Travel Centre culinary cruise in Russia in October; and Christine Manfield who, with Epicurious Travel, will lead a spice tour of India in the same month. Sydney chefs Alejandro Saravia and Hamish Ingham will host tours of Peru (Chimu Adventures, May and April) and China (World Expeditions, June) respectively.
World Expeditions has long been flying the flag for culinary travels, launching China tours with Kylie Kwong in 2004, and expanding its list of guest chefs ever since. Intrepid Travel, meanwhile, has just announced itineraries exploring the street stalls and urban food culture of some of the world’s hottest food destinations with the help of expert local food identities. Surely the perfect recipe for holiday stories to dine out on for years.
Susan Kurosawa is on leave.