FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD (AND WINE)
WE SPEAK WITH CELEBRITY CHEF MATT PRESTON ABOUT WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE REGION’S BIGGEST FOODIE EVENT OF THE YEAR
Matt Preston believes that the best memories are created while sharing quality food and a good glass of wine with even better company. Best known for his role as a judge and co-host of Masterchef Australia, Matt claims he will be doing just that at this year’s Noosa Food and Wine Festival. Matt is joining the line-up of celebrity chefs who will be showcasing their culinary flair and sharing their knowledge on the main stage at the four-day foodie event, which kicks off on May 16. It’s an event that Matt said was marked down eagerly in his calender each year and he was once again proud to be a part of. “I’ll be doing two demonstrations on the main stage and I’ll be joined by some incredible chefs,” he said. “There’s the likes of Matt Moran, Alessandro Pavoni, Matt Golinski and our new Masterchef mentor Matt Sinclair and it will be great to muck around and have fun with them on stage.” As the author of three best-selling cookbooks and a renowned food critic and columnist, Matt knows a thing or two about a good plate of food. He said he had attended an “awful amount” of food events in his time and the Noosa festival was up there among his favourites. “What’s fantastic about this festival is that it is focused on Australian chefs and what they have to offer,” he said. “A lot of events bring in international talent, which is great, but it’s also wonderful to see a gathering of chefs from all around the country. “It also has a real laid-back vibe where you can go up and chat to the chefs and there is a wonderful selection of events across the four days.” Matt said the festival would showcase the best local food and produce that was on offer on the Coast and throughout Queensland. He said it was important for people to realise that they did not have to travel far to sample some stand-out dishes. “It’s a brilliant opportunity for people to come to Noosa and enjoy not just the unique stuff on offer but get out there and sample food from great local restaurants,” he said. “Every corner of Australia has great food and produce and whether you’re enjoying freshly-cooked local spanner crab, a curry from Sum Yung Guys or a cocktail from a great local bar, the whole idea of the festival
is to celebrate those offerings.” Matt is filming the new season of Masterchef Australia and he said this year’s show would be particularly exciting for Queensland viewers. This would be the first time the Logie-winning show, now in its 11th season, had filmed in the Sunshine State. “It’s really exciting to finally be able to film in Queensland, after years of trying to get it to happen,” he said. “It will really shine a spotlight on what’s going on here as we filmed in the hinterland and at Noosa and it will be great to be able to paint that image of wonderful Queensland produce. “We have over 20 million people tuning in to the show from all around the world so it will be great for tourism in the region.” Matt said there would be plenty of opportunities for festival-goers to go up and have a chat about the show, cooking tips and anything in general during his demonstrations across the Saturday and Sunday of the event. “I will be talking about food that is undervalued and that we often forget about and how we can use it in great dishes and also minimise waste,” he said. “Last year, I demonstrated how to cook nachos for breakfast, lunch and dinner so you can expect something a little left-field again this year. “It’s great because it is all very relaxed and people get lovely access to the chefs and it’s a great opportunity to be able to talk one on one with them.” Matt’s demonstrations will be taking place in the main stage in the Festival Village. “It you are looking for a really cool thing to do on the weekend, gather your mates and have a really cruisy day enjoying great wine, great cocktails, some delicious food and some entertainment from some idiots on stage,” he joked. “You should all be very proud of what you have on the Sunshine Coast and this is a great way to enjoy it.” Noosa Food and Wine Festival director Sheridah Puttick said some big events were in store for this year’s festival. “It’s really exciting this year because we have two new spaces in our festival village,” she said. “We have organised a collaboration between the chefs and have created experiences that people can’t experience anywhere else in Australia.” The River Lounge and the Drinks Lab are the two new spaces that are being introduced this year. They will provide event-goers the chance to learn from some of the best chefs, producers, mixologists, wine connoisseurs and spirit gurus from across the country. Sheridah said the sessions were all about pairing great food with the right beverage and working with acclaimed chefs. “One of the chefs came up with the idea of pairing up and we thought it would be a great way to produce some really creative and cool sessions,” she said. “There will be something for everyone: a new take on the Bloody Mary, cocktails designed especially for the Noosa Food and Wine Festival and whiskey paired with some barbecued meats.” Sheridah said the program also had two chefs from Seminyak in Bali showcasing their amazing talents with dry ice and theatrics involved in their cooking session. “They are from the famous restaurant in Bali, Bikini, and they cook serious food in a not-so-serious way,” she said. “The key with the River Lounge and Drinks Lab sessions is about having fun, being social and getting up close and personal with the chefs.” As well as the two new spaces, Sheridah said all of the favourites would be back this year including the Olsen masterclasses and the live demonstrations in The Village. “We also have new Baci masterclasses which will be particularly exciting for those who love sweets,” she said. “Some of our favourite dessert connoisseurs including the likes of Adriano Zumbo and Anna Polyviou will be sharing their favourite sweet creations inspired by Baci chocolates.” Sheridah said a number of events already had sold out or were selling out fast so she advised people to get in early to get tickets. This year’s event will be single-use plastic bottle- and bag-free. Three types of bins will be available and Waste Warriors will be on hand, advising festival-goers how to dispose of their waste properly.
The Noosa Food and Wine Festival will run from May 16-19. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.noosafoodandwine.com.au.