Melbourne never fails to deliver when it comes to food that can rock your proverbial socks off, and Taste of Melbourne, a four-day long extravaganza for your stomach and your waist-line, provides us with no exception. The festival features top quality produce, chefs and restaurants, and this year, it’s offering a little more of a surprise.
In partnership with Electrolux, four contemporary Australian artists are pairing up with top chefs as part of the Co-Lab program, and according to the Taste Festival director, Kirsty Austin, “the chef-artist pairings were curated to challenge and complement each creative discipline”. An exclusive dish and limited edition artwork will be crafted by the four pairs and will only be available to buy at the festival.
Mamasita’s Michael Smith will be pairing up with Yorta Yorta/Gunditjmara artist Joshua Muir in an effort to, gulp, spice up Mexican food. Muir’s work has featured on the NGV White Night in 2016 and is currently artist in residence at Oaxaca, a Mexican state renowned for rich Zapotecan and Mixtecan culture. In combination with the authentic Mexican dishes used in the restaurant and the use of native ingredients, they’re sure to pack a punch.
Locality is just as important as branching out, and head chef Liz Contini is paired with Evie Cahir in an effort to punctuate this idea. They’ll put a unique spin on local ingredients, using sophisticated but approachable dishes with an impressive array of Australian wines and spirits. Mixing this in with Cahir’s blooms of colour and intricate illustrations/photography of Australian relics and markets, these will be a formidable pair.
Experimentation with food does not stop short with taste, it flows into the physical realm as well. George Calombaris, famed for his modern, creative twists on classic Greek cuisine will be working with Ash Keating. Keating is an artist whose 20-metre-high artworks, with their literal bursts of colour, demonstrates the controlled chaos and precision that comes with tapping into the physical side of creativity. This collaboration will further bolster the idea of passion and precision honed in experimentation, be it with food or artwork.
To be outlandish, you needn’t be outrageous. Scott Pickett and Geoff Nees, chef and artist respectively, share an ardent love for minimalism and detail. They diverge with the bold flavours and rustic cuts of game and charcuterie Pickett utilises, where Nees employs geometric abstractions. Regardless, these two will make their minimalistic styles flare to life with their vivacity.
Taste of Melbourne has taken care to bring together a unique crew of artists and chefs that will cater to a broad range of people. With an abundance of great food, culture and quality, the festival embellishes on Melbourne’s food scene and will leave the audience voracious for more.
When and Where: Melbourne’s Yarra Park – 30 Nov – 3 Dec 2017
Visit https://melbourne.tastefestivals.com/ for more information.
Written by Taylor Rawson