The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is one of the premier events of its kind on the international foodie-fest circuit and regularly attracts the world's top chefs and wine experts to appear during its 11-day time span.
Among this year's star names were the UK's Angela Hartnett (Murano), London-based New Zealand chef Anna Hansen (Modern Pantry) and Spain's renowned Elena Arzak (Arzak), all of whom were invited to take part in the festival under a theming of Women of the Kitchen (and Vine). All three hosted masterclasses, Hansen and Hartnett undertaking to cook two gala dinners each as well.
The festival is one of the broadest reaching food events on the international calendar, placing internationally renowned chefs alongside celebrated food writers and broadcasters and food entrepreneurs in the retail sector. This year it staged 260 events, which ranged from chef masterclasses, to gala dinners; screenings of food-related feature films to food-and-wine matching seminars; family days at some of Melbourne's famous produce markets to restaurant crawls; producer spotlights to tea-centred gatherings.
In addition to showcasing leading women chefs, this year's festival also ran events under the themings of the Lost Arts (eg preserve and jelly making, cultivating your own veg) and Stars of Spice. Appearing under the latter banner was London's Atul Kochhar (Benares). Other international names hosting events during the festival included Denmark's Thorsten Schmidt (Arhus) and New York chef Zackary Pelaccio (Fatty Crab) and Japan's Jun Yukimura (Azabu Yukimura).
Other UK names appearing at the festival were jellymongers Bompas & Parr and food presenter and writer Nigella Lawson.
The festival ran from 4-14 March.*By Joanna Wood*