Have chef, will travel

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - The Food Issue - MICHELLE ROWE

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.

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