Tuck into the Gourmet Escape program
Get the lowdown on this year’s hot line up including international favourites and local heroes.
“I’d happily travel the 9,000 miles from London for a glass of anything from Cullen Wines.” It’s one of the genuine quotes from Nigella Lawson about her last visit to the Margaret River region for the 2016 Gourmet Escape.
And on that note, Nigella will travel 9000 miles again to join the likes of Rick Stein, Monica Galetti, Tetsuya Wakuda, Guy Grossi, and Luke Mangan among the 40 plus international and Australian stars flocking to the region from November 16-18.
There are more than 45 showcase and satellite events happening from Friday to Sunday across the Margaret River region. Several have sold out but there are still plenty of delicious experiences to sink your teeth into.
Some might say you haven’t truly experienced Gourmet Escape until you’ve slipped off your shoes and gone barefoot, while sipping a Margaret river chardonnay at a Gourmet Beach BBQ at stunning Castle Rock beach, or sampled the delights of the region while meeting your culinary heroes at the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate.
Over the weekend of November 17 and 18, the Gourmet Village becomes food and wine central with more than 120 artisan food producers, winemakers and brewers from around Western Australia, alongside visiting chefs and wine experts. Guests can enjoy cooking demonstrations, hear intimate panel discussions, and enjoy live music. Kids will have the chance to get their hands dirty, with cooking classes teaching positive food habits through fun and interactive workshops. Tickets start at $40 with various other packages available.
Other iconic and much loved events returning in 2018 include Feast in the Forest, Sunset Beats and Bites, and the Fraser Gallop Estate Long Lunch.
New Events on the menu at Margaret River Gourmet Escape (with tickets still available at time of publishing)
Two of the world’s most accomplished Mexican chefs, Edgar Nunez from Sud 777 MEX and Rosio Sanchez from her world-renowned taqueria Hija de Sanchez in Copenhagen will serve up a snack party of Mexican delicacies using amazing local produce, washed down with a selection of local craft brews from five of the region’s top breweries.
Chef and author, Shannon Martinez of Melbourne’s Smith & Daughters transforms the restaurant at Wise Vineyard into a vegan Italian trattoria. Taking inspiration from the Italian family restaurants of her childhood and years spent living in the Lower East Side of New York City, the party will be fueled by Margaret River wines and toe-tapping tunes.
Three young guns of modern Chinese cooking come together for a high-energy evening of food, drink, and story telling. Andrew Wong form London’s Michelin starred A-Wong, Victor Liong from the super hip Melbourne laneway diner Lee Ho Fooks, and local hero and host Malcolm Chow, owner of the recently opened Chow’s Table in Yallingup.
Hurry as tickets to this one are selling quick! This incredible event will transport guests along stunning Geographe Bay in an Ocean Dream Charters 25 metre twin catamaran. Enjoy the ultimate Italian summer canape reception with matched beverages, prepared by Italian celebrity chef Guy Grossi, the man behind Garum at the new Westin in Perth.Full program here
Margaret River breeds its own stock of celebrity chefs, with Samira Damirova being the latest of the crop. Samira featured in the 2018 MasterChef series and stopped to answer a few questions.
Q: How did you feel returning to Margaret River after being away filming MasterChef?
A: After being away for nearly six months with only a couple of short breaks in between, I missed home so much. I find Margaret River enchanting and I missed so many things about the place so coming here and reuniting with my little family was a huge relief. It was a very tough six months of early mornings, late nights, continuous filming and travelling. Although it was incredibly exciting, I missed the tranquility of my home life. Returning back to Margaret River felt like the biggest reward.
Q: What is your favourite Margaret River produce and why?
A: There are a number of beautiful locally produced foods to choose from, just to name a few that I enjoy regularly: Margaret River Venison products, Olio Bello, Capel butter, local free range eggs… I religiously visit the Margaret River Farmers Markets on Saturday mornings and love the fresh locally grown and handmade goods that we are fortunate enough to have access to directly from the producers themselves.
Q: Where are your favourite places to eat in the Margaret River region?
A: Local wineries like Leeuwin Estate, Voyager, and Hayshed Hill provide some great lunch options. In town I quite like to dine at Miki’s Open Kitchen, Teddie’s Big Spoon to satisfy my craving for the occasional Korean meal, and the Brewhouse for casual options with the kids.
Q: What do you think are the region’s best kept secrets?
A: There are still quite a few secluded places both on the coast and in the forest that are surprisingly close but rarely visited which you can go to and enjoy the serenity.