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With just weeks to go until Western Australia Gourmet Escape presented by Westpac kicks off, here’s what to expect from the culinary festival’s two key events…
Gourmet Feast in the Valley at Sandalford Estate in the Swan Valley is a feast for the senses blending food, tunes and fun in a weekend-long celebration. Firstly, the food – where cooking over fire is the name of the game and internationally renowned chefs like Marco Pierre White and Jess Pryles will sear, sizzle and grilll over flames at the ‘Fire Pit’, with London party-starter Christian Stevenson (aka DJ BBQ) as host.
Then, there’s the music – headlined by The Rubens, and supported by Fergus James with a mix of true local legends across the two days, including Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics, Carla Geneve, Web Rumors and Abbe May. DJ Andrew Levins will provide beats between acts, kicking off Saturday with the funnest kids disco set in the universe.
And, for the kids? Justine Clarke and dirtgirl are the headline entertainment, guaranteeing the kids are kept happy while mums and dads will revel in the tastings, the food trucks and live entertainment.
The Fire Pit presented by Australian Good Meat: Think flame-licked meat and master butchery, with a suitably smoky soundtrack. Head to the Feast Fire Pit (an open-plan BBQ of epic proportions, complete with 360-degree views) to see culinary heavyweights like Marco Pierre White and Jess Pryles in action, then wash down their dishes with a fine local wine.
Main Stage: There’s never a dull moment on the Feast Main Stage, where hot music talent meets family entertainment. On Saturday 10th, The Rubens will headline the show, with Fergus James, kids’ disco with DJ Andrew Levins, Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics and kids’ act dirtgirl & Mother Earth performing earlier in the day. The Sunday line-up includes WA darlings Abbe May, Carla Geneve, Web Rumors, with DJ Andrew Levins and kids’ entertainer, Justine Clarke.
Food Trucks: A truck-load of eating options will be available at the Valley, with a selection of WA’s hottest food trucks on offer – from The Melt Hub gourmet sandwiches, to South America comfort food from Soul Provider, Vietnamese at Banh Mizzle, handcrafted baos from Baolicious, The Tapi Truck Brazilian tacos and WA street eats from Curb Your Hunger.
Locally Made Workshop Series: Western Australia Gourmet Escape has partnered with some of the best businesses in the Swan Valley that are devoted to their craft, to bring guests workshops where you can learn the skills, tips and tricks to take home and be inspired. Each class has an emphasis on celebrating local produce and the Swan Valley region. There will be tastings along the way, recipes to take home and in some classes you even get take what you make. All are suitable for both new and experienced domestic cooks.
Little Growers Garden: A special garden for the tiny tots, where they’ll learn how to grow their own herbs, make compost from their kitchen scraps, build a worm farm and so much more. Keep an eye out for dirtgirl who will be visiting the garden to meet all the budding gardeners.
A gourmet celebration of fresh food and fine wine, featuring celebrity chefs, immersive experiences and exclusive culinary delights, the Gourmet Village is the Margaret River Festival Hub of Western Australia Gourmet Escape Presented by Westpac. Held in the beautiful grounds of Leeuwin Estate Winery, this weekend-long celebration brings together world-class chefs (including Colin Fassnidge, Danny Bowien, Amanda Cohen and more), exclusive pop-up bars and restaurants, and more than 150 local producers and wineries for an unmissable celebration of food, wine and friends. Sample artisan produce, join hands-on cooking workshops, enjoy local cellar door tastings and be inspired by some of the most influential culinary talent from across the globe.
Top Events included in the Gourmet Village ticket:
Luxury Travel’s pick? It’s got to be the VIP Experience, where you’ll gain exclusive access to the Singapore Airlines Escape Garden or the Westpac Leeuwin Estate Platinum Lounge. VIP passes include fast-track entry, complimentary food and beverages, private amenities and exclusive access to VIP reserve areas and cost $140 for Escape Garden and $250 for Platinum Lounge.
Chef’s Amphitheatre: This is the Gourmet Village’s action-packed main stage, hosted by Matt Okine, where you’ll see all the stars in action – including Colin Fassnidge, Pierre Koffmann, Danny Bowien, Ivan Brehm and Amanda Cohen. Expect cooking demonstrations, thought-provoking talks and live music throughout the day.
Consuming Conversations: A discussion of all things culinary with the hottest chefs in town, this event is unscripted, honest and free to attend and will give you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the most influential food people on the planet.
Let’s Get Fizzical: A fun and fizzy pop-up bar, celebrating all things ‘sparkling’ – from wine to artisan beers, cider, pet nats, kombucha and even sparkling coffee. All can be paired with shucked-to-order oysters.
The Butcher’s Block presented by Australian Good Meat: Visit the Butcher’s Block for a series of daily sessions celebrating local beer and lamb. Learn more about the fine art of butchery and innovative cooking methods, while enjoying meaty canapés and a glass of wine to match.
Other Top Events
Battle of the Breweries presented by Besk: It’s all about beer at Battle of the Breweries, where local breweries will go head-to-head in 30-minute sessions throughout the day. After a guided tasting hosted by Elliot Moore from Besk, the audience will decide who comes out victorious. Tickets are $12 on the day.
Village Workshops presented by Salt & Company: A series of hands-on workshops to hone those kitchen skills, choose from ‘Kombucha Pickled Seasonal Veg’, ‘Fresh Ricotta Curds, Vino Cotto Pickled Fig’ or ‘Handmade Gnocchi’ and enjoy a special ‘take home’ from every workshop (e.g. a jar of past sauce with your handmade gnocchi). Tickets need to be purchased in advance for $35, with Gourmet Village entry not included.
Theatre of Drinks: A series of 30-minute interactive sessions that explore the ‘wide world of drinks’, with tastings to match and hosted by Mike Bennie. Topics include everything from ‘Pet Nat Party – Naturally sparkling wines 101’ to ‘Fancy wines for the Cellar – A chat/tasting about fancy reds’ and ‘Wild Beers – the new wave of experimental brewing’. Tickets are $15 on the day.
Grand Marquee Wine Tastings: A brand new attraction at this year’s Gourmet Village, specially designed for wine connoisseurs, guests will experience a two-hour session (including 45-minutes of tutored tastings on Margaret River Cabernets and Chardonnays) trialing top-end wines from some of WA’s best wineries and meet the winemakers themselves. These prestige drops will not be available anywhere else in the village. Tickets need to be purchased in advance for $40, with Gourmet Village entry not included.
Wine & Swine with Colin Fassnidge: Share a wine and a swine with your favourite judge from My Kitchen Rules. On Sunday 17 November, a select few will have the chance to chat with Colin during a short Q&A, sip on a glass of Margaret River wine and taste an exclusive porchetta dish inspired by Colin himself. Tickets need to be purchased in advance for $55, with Gourmet Village entry not included.
Kids’ Corner: Who says the Gourmet Village is just for grown-ups? Over a series of 45-minute sessions at The Little Kitchen presented by Rapids Landing Primary School, youngsters will get the chance to plant their own basil plant of hand-build some delicious and nutritious rice paper rolls. Tickets are $10 on the day.