Escape hailed a big success
The final year of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape as we know it was a roaring success, with crowds of metropolitan visitors packing the region for the weekend.
Escape organisers IMG Culinary said more than 20,000 people attended events across three days, including the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate.
Returning for her second visit, headliner Nigella Lawson gushed about the region after the Escape finished on Sunday.
“The thing about Gourmet Escape is that it’s got such a relaxed, sort of beachy vibe, and if you combine the fact that everything is laid-back with the fact that it’s full of people who feel so passionately about food, it somehow creates its own environment, its own ambience which is unlike anywhere else,” she said in a statement.
“I find it quite magical really, because it’s also in a setting that’s of such natural beauty. Ever since I first came here, I have to say I’ve just told everyone about Gourmet Escape. I don’t think I can count the number of friends I’ve told about it.”
Margaret River-trained chef Matt Stone said he enjoyed coming back to meet friends and make new connections.
“There’s some amazing restaurants,” he said. “There always has been, but I feel they’re coming to a whole new level.”
Organisers said WA producers were well represented at events such as the seven ticketed Beach Barbecues. With ongoing WA Government funding, the event will be known as Western Australia Gourmet Escape next year.
The Margaret River Gourmet Escape will be a regional event, similar to the existing Escape, and will close the expanded 10-day festival, which also covers Perth and the Swan Valley.
Nigella Lawson answers questions during a Gourmet Escape event on Sunday.