A NEW international standard food and wine festival, Margaret River Gourmet Escape, may develop into the highest-profile food and wine festival in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
Tourism Minister Kim Hames announced the festival on Saturday, saying the November 22-25 event would attract the world’s best chefs, culinary and wine critics and celebrities.
"Australia has a few good food and wine festivals, but Margaret River Gourmet Escape will be a truly international standard event, providing a fantastic attraction for locals and visitors, as well as priceless promotion for the Margaret River Wine Region and WA as a whole," Minister Hames said.
Drawcards include Heston Blumenthal, the owner of the Fat Duck restaurant in the UK, and Rene Redzepi from Denmark of three-times rated world’s best restaurant Noma, as well as Australian Justin North of Becasse in Sydney, Perth’s Matt Stone of Greenhouse, and Dany Angove, head chef at Leeuwin Estate.
The event will be run by Brand Events Australia, which will open an office in Margaret River.
Brand Events runs restaurant festival Taste in 12 international cities, with offices in seven countries.
"There has been extensive consultation with regional and State tourism, food and wine industry groups and there will be significant local involvement in the event," Minister Hames said.
Margaret River Wine Industry Association CEO Nick Power said this annual event will help take the Margaret River wine brand "to the next level".
Association president Nigel Gallop said they saw the event as a great platform to inform and inspire people to taste Margaret River’s fine wines.
The event will include the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate, with masterclasses, pop-up restaurants, cooking demonstrations, wine theatre and meet the winemaker sessions, Lunch in the Vines, official wine routes, and an Icon Celebration, awarding an icon of the industry each year.
There will also be a regional food and wine trade program in the lead up to Gourmet Escape, and a hosted familiarisation program, where visiting journalists and critics are shown around WA.
Planning is also under way to align the Gourmet Escape with the annual Margaret River Wine Show in 2013.
The Australian Hotels Association (WA) CEO Bradley Woods said, "The Margaret River Gourmet Escape will provide fantastic exposure for Western Australia on the world gourmet stage.
"Developing and promoting truly West Australian tourism events such as the Margaret River Gourmet Escape is exactly the kind of State Government support the AHA and hospitality and tourism operators have been calling for."
The event is supported through Eventscorp’s Regional Events Program, which is funded by Royalties for Regions.
For information go to www.gourmetescape.com.au.