Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Regional Flavours Festival at Southbank

The first course of a weekend-long degustation kicked off on Friday night within the grounds of pop up venue, The Hunting Club. The launch of The Regional Flavours festival was an opportunity for celebrity chefs, sponsors, media and other festival friends to mingle, enjoy tasty camel burgers and other palatable paddles of bubbles and beer, courtesy of Head Chef Joel and the team from The South Bank Surf Club.

After basking in the Saturday morning sunshine over Tortilla y tomate from Olé Restaurant, we followed the sound of children’s laughter and headed through the garden path, lined with pink and purple stalls to reach the Imaginarium. Bursting with colour and decorations, it felt like walking through a kaleidoscope into Willy Wonka’s factory. Children were running riot up, over and around brightly coloured red beanbags while others sat playfully around the workstations. Lovable mascot Reginald Bertwhistle, dressed in an outfit complete with DIY moe, was with the cool characters from Ro & Co; the experts in edible entertainment.

The imagination of the younglings ran as wild as the sugar within their veins, as they mastered their very own cupcake decorations and artistic apples – think Monsters Inc! The most talented treat to burst onto stage in technicolour tights was lovable personality Alice Zaslavsky, former Masterchef contestant. Alice radiated an electric connection with her pint-sized audience by educating them about cooking safety, techniques and ingredients in a fun and interesting way. Through storytelling and playful examples, the kids learnt about the history of sugar, how to make friends with ingredients, and how to make Pooh’s Crunchy Honeycomb. Also joining her on stage was Dr Rob scientist, TV presenter, adventurer and host of children’s TV series Scope.

The stage at The River Quay saw cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs Gary Mehigan and Poh Ling Yeow, and local star chefs Damien Styles from The Jetty South Bank, Dan Cossart from Popolo Italian Kitchen & Bar, Josh Inglis from Cove Bar & Dining, Ben Aldous from Aquitaine Brasserie and Kirsty Mundt from Stokehouse Brisbane. Watching a cooking show in real life is so much more enjoyable when you get to taste the final fruits of labour which I am sure many Brisbane Bellies will agree to!

 Cove Bar's Appleton rum and cola pork belly sliders

 Popolo's Wild mushroom arancini with reggiano veloute

Each River Quay restaurant sold food and drinks from their gourmet vending menu for punters to enjoy on the grassy space decked out with comfy Channel 10 bean-bags, listening to the sounds of local Jazz talent, Lauren Lucille.

A journey through the bustling Little Stanley Street highlighted more than 100 producers, growers and winemakers, including the dulcet business Tomarata Sensual. Operated by John and Kerry Pool, they were promoting Australian lychees, revealing they are developing a top secret recipe for a soon-to-be-launching lychee champagne – yum! The grazing route through the festival was hosted by a procession of food trucks. No surprise there that the first to sell out was Beastie Burgers – which are definitely the best burgers in Brisbane.

Meanwhile, The Smokehouse Beef Stage was a popular venue starring Hayden Quinn, Damon Amos and many industry experts educating beef babes about the perfect cuts for slow cooking, braising, smoking, charcoaling and roasting.
Fellow epicureans seated on fluorescent pink chairs beneath The Epicurious Tent tuned into their favourite food icons, hosted by gourmand Adam Liaw. The highlight of the day was listening to 5th generation butcher Anthony Puharich –  certainly the Bvulgari of butcheries and supplier to reputable Brisbane restaurants Aria Restaurant, Riverbar & Kitchen and Pony Dining. Anthony discussed history and fun facts with lamb lovers, demonstrating how to respect a lamb and utilise every part of it. You will forget the Sunday night lamb roast with Tom Cruise when you see Anthony Puharich on stage. He looked the part with a hacksaw, deconstructing a lamb while providing helpful hints and cooking techniques to guarantee maximum pleasure.

The Regional Flavours Festival is a great way for friends and family to enjoy food, earn an interesting education and support local businesses. Though the festival is filled with foodie favourites and celebrities, the true shining stars of the show are the sponsors and staff, for without them this epic food adventure would not be possible. 

blog published on http://thegoodguide.com.au/2013/07/25/regional-flavours-festival-at-south-bank/

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