What a weekend! The Noosa Food & Wine Festival of 2016 was one to remember.
I recently returned from a trip to Sri Lanka and stepped straight off the plane and into four days of cooking, eating, travelling, surfing, and seeing old friends.
We live in a lucky country, and in a region that is truly blessed with some of the finest produce in the world. From seafood to vineyards, vegetables to seasonings, part of the beautiful idea behind the Noosa Food & Wine Festival is to highlight the exemplary quality of not only Noosa but the whole Sunshine Coast’s local produce, restaurants, and chefs. Throughout the four days of the Festival, Noosa-ites (including myself!) team up with the best chefs from across Australia and put on an unforgettable show for our community and the many who travelled to Noosa just for these events.
I am a proud Noosa local and I love watching this festival get bigger and better every year.
And didn’t Noosa turned on her charm and sunshine for the whole weekend! Parties and breakfasts in the stunning Beach Tipi’s on main Beach, the Latin Quarter, BBQ’s on Noosa River, produce trails, Makepeace Island Seafood cruise, wine tastings and special guest chef events in all the restaurants – Noosa Food and Wine 2016 had something for everyone!
First up on Friday we traveled out to the beautiful Makepeace Island, Sir Richard Branson’s incredible Australian private island. Elegance and luxury were everywhere as I prepped our seafood feast with David Pugh of Restaurant Two, Massimo Mele, Lisa Mahar, and Chris Harris.
Saturday was a crazy day. The entire length of Hasting’s St was turned into a Street Feast with a whole team of local restaurants and visiting chefs participating. At Noosa Beach House I teamed up with my mate from Sydney Massimo Mele to serve two courses “feasting style” meaning lots of new friends and plenty of seafood to go around. How else would an Italian and a Sri Lankan share the love?! The atmosphere was amazing.
Straight after the Street Feast, in came my old mate Pete Evans to help the Noosa Beach House team start prepping for Pete Evans and Peter Kuruvita Reunite at Noosa Beach House, a sold-out event celebrating 20 years since Pete and I first met at Bondi Beach in 1996. Time flies.. With wines from Seppelt, Penfolds, and Coldstream Hills our dishes complimented one another and it was good fun to cook beside an old friend.
With my old friend Chef Pete Evans
Chicken tostadas at the Street Fest
Beetroot-cured Ora King Salmon, local Spanner Crab, apple granita and sorrel
Main course of local Swordfish with Sri Lankan spices, ambul thial and green coconut
Sunday was an awesome finale to the festival. I not only got to cook and have great fun with my guests for my special lunch at Noosa Beach House, but had a surf too in the Taste.com.au Surfers Versus Chefs Breakfast. Competition was rife between the local loggers and chefs headed by team captains Ben O’Donoghue, Pete Evans, Merrick Davis and myself. With crowd watching to a back drop of the sun rising, it was on!
My 10/10 headstand!
Although I came in last, I scored 10/10 for my on-board headstand (a PK signature move!) and loved uniting cooking with healthy living and the surf culture of Australia. Chefs then cooked and served breaky to the hungry happy crowds.
Thank you to everyone who attended my events during 2016’s Noosa Food & Wine, the chefs I had the opportunity to cook with including Pete Evans, Massimo Mele, and David Pugh, everyone who followed along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and all of our wonderful sponsors listed below. It’s through sharing our love of food and culture that we create these memories. I can’t wait for next year’s festival!
The festival received great press and I look forward to the Noosa Food and Wine Festival 2017!
Treasury Wines at the Pete and Pete dinner:
2011 Heemskerk sparkling on arrival
2005 Wolf Blass White Label Chardonnay
2015 Seppelt Drumborg Riesling
2012 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz
2015 Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir
Baileys of Glenrowan Founder Series Muscat