Blue skies and balmy weather welcomed the thousands who flocked to the Noosa International Food & Festival on the weekend.
It’s been all about food for the past four days at Noosa as the 11th Noosa International Food & Wine Festival swung into action with celebrity chef lunches and dinners, concerts on the beach and the lookout, river cruises and bus tours and a park overflowing with the best food and wine around.
With more than 100 chefs in town, all with their knives fully sharpened to make the best of the region’s abundant local produce, there was plenty to satisfy the 30,000 hungry festival goers. You couldn’t walk anywhere in Noosa without spotting some of the big name chefs and faces familiar from television screens including Matt Preston, Peter Kuruvita, Alastair McLeod, Neil Perry and Adriano Zumbo amongst the crowd.
Navigating your way around the festival was made easy by the festival app which allowed visitors to plan an itinerary, browse maps and receive alerts so they didn’t miss sessions of interest. Apart from the chef’s private after parties every night, which word-on-the-street described as ‘legendary’, the list of events not-to-miss was long. It started with the Foodie Fandango Opening night concert with music from the Queensland Virtuosi Orchestra, a fun 60s style beach party on Noosa’s Main Beach where guests were inspired to limbo to a Beach Boys cover band and the ultimate dining experience, dinner in the Qantas Beach Marquee with your feet in the sand and your eyes on the water.
On Saturday the celebrity chefs took to the stage over three cooking demonstration venues at sessions that were free to anyone with a general admission ticket. There were plenty of people lining up to hear from Bruno Loubet from London’s Grain Store and Andrew McConnell from Cutler & Co in Melbourne on the main stage, while over in auditorium one Brisbane chefs Alastair McLeod and Brad Jolly were showing their style with pig and David Pugh teamed with George Francisco whipped up some salad magic at another venue.
There was also the chance to critique the culinary media’s cooking skills with a people’s choice vote to judge the winner and best ‘street food’ cook on the Noosa festival block. Matt Preston just took out the title from hot contender Lizzie Loel.
Sunshine Coast restaurants filled eight stalls full of delectable festival food with each plate available for a very reasonable $8 on both Saturday and Sunday and the marques were full of people trying and tasting new food products. Think hand-made butter, the best local cheeses, freshly shucked mussels and abalone, olives and salmon and much more.
If you are a food lover, celebrity chef follower or just like to have a good time, put this Noosa festival on your list for 2015.