Its premier event, to be held from 22 to 25 November 2012, will be a four-day ‘Margaret River Gourmet Escape’, an annual event that the state will aim to develop into the highest profile food and wine festival in Australia and the Asia-Pacific Region.
Executive director of Eventscorp for the the state, Gwyn Dolphin, told ATE delegates in Perth that the world’s best chefs, culinary and wine critics and celebrities are expected to attend the new premium food and wine event in the Margaret River Wine Region in Australia’s South West.
The first major signing for ‘Margaret River Gourmet Escape’ is Heston Blumenthal, the owner of the famous Fat Duck restaurant in the United Kingdom and known throughout the world for excellence, innovation and creativity. He is currently rated in the top 10 in San Pellegrino’s awards for his new restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
In another major coup, Rene Redzepi from Denmark, whose restaurant Noma was recently ranked the world’s number one for the third time, will also appear at Margaret River Gourmet Escape, as well as Australian favourite Justin North of Becasse in Sydney, local star Matt Stone of Greenhouse in Perth and Dany Angove of Leewin Estate Winery in Margaret River.
WA events ideally should be based around weekends because the mining boom keeps hotel occupancies in Perth and elsewhere high during weekdays, Dolphin explained.
Tourism Western Australia chief executive Stephanie Buckland said the state was taking steps to get new hotels built, including releasing crown land and government buildings for development.
The high profile chefs and celebrities attending ‘Margaret River Gourmet Escape’ will be involved in a range of events.
- The Gourmet Village at the famous Leeuwin Estate Winery – the event hub will be open to the public and feature dozens of masterclasses, pop-up restaurants, cooking demonstrations, wine theatre, wine matching programs, meet the winemaker sessions, live music, and showcase premium West Australian wine and produce.
- A cocktail and wine bar will be located at one of the region’s iconic natural locations. It will be home to a range of events from opening night festivities to live music throughout the event.
- Beach BBQ – will run at one of the region’s best beaches on Saturday and Sunday with each day hosted by a high profile chef.
- Lunch in the Vines – an indulgent long-table lunch at one of Margaret River’s best known wineries featuring leading chefs and sommeliers.
- A unique and intimate dinner at one of the region’s iconic tourist attractions.
- Official Wine Routes – three to four themed wine routes throughout the Margaret River Wine Region.
- Icon Celebration – A highlight event awarding an icon of the industry each year.
- Numerous other food and wine events throughout the region.
The event’s major base will be at the Leeuwin Estate Winery but other wineries will also be part of different aspects with a huge amount of local involvement.
Margaret River Gourmet Escape is supported by the Western Australian State Government through Eventscorp’s Regional Events Program, which is funded by Royalties for Regions. Eventscorp is the events division of Tourism Western Australia.
Dolphin said Perth International Golf from 18-21 October 2012 was another big WA event, as was the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series and the Hopman Cup Tennis (part of the Australian Open Series) at the new Perth Arena .
WA’s events strategy did not consist just of sport and cuisine, Dolphin said. Culture cam into it too. A Picasso and Warhol Modern Masters exhibition, drawn from the New York Museum of Modern Art, is on at present.
Written by : Peter Needham