15 November 2014
Last night a selection of the world’s most influential and respected food and wine VIPs came together at Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), for Restaurant Australia’s exclusive and highly anticipated ‘Invite The World To Dinner’ Gala event.
More than 80 international food and wine writers, critics, columnists, reviewers, celebrity chefs, TV personalities, including Heston Blumenthal, Alice Waters, A.A. Gill, Sanjeev Kapoor and Yifan Liu joined the likes of Australian foodies Maggie Beer, Matt Preston and Matt Moran to sample a truly unique and spectacular menu, created by Restaurant Australia Head Chefs Ben Shewry, Peter Gilmore and Neil Perry AM.
The event marked the culmination of Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia campaign, showcasing to the world the remarkable people, exceptional produce and inspiring places that make Australian food and wine so unique.
The gastronomic journey commenced with a ‘Chapter 1: Sparkling and Sea’ red carpet moment at Elizabeth Street Pier, with a variety of Australian oysters from Tasmania and West Australia complemented by House of Arras sparkling, served to the sounds of a string quartet.
Guests were then ushered onto a flotilla of ‘yellow boats’, provided by award-winning Tasmanian tourism operator Robert Pennicott, departing for ‘Chapter 2: Earth, Fire & Water’ held at the Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park (GASP!). Amidst fire pits and Indigenous storytellers, guests were treated to the first of many creative courses to come from the Restaurant Australia Head Chefs, including King George whiting in paperbark and grilled baby corn with forest anise from Ben Shewry; Peter Gilmore’s charcoal grilled West Australian marron with wasabi butter and roasted wallaby tail broth; wood roast Tasmanian lobster with kombu butter and charcoal grilled Tasmanian abalone with liver, sake and mirin dressing by Neil Perry. Wines from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia were served by the Australian wine elite including Bruce Tyrrell, presenting Tyrrell’s Vat 1 2005 Semillon.
Departing GASP! guests then boarded the iconic ‘MONA ROMA’ ferry for the museum itself, where they made their way through the venue for ‘Chapter 3: Art and Produce’ – the main course. Here the three Chefs blurred the lines of cooking and art to each present a unique course served with six matching Australian wines. Ben Shrewy presented salted South Australian red kangaroo and bunya bunya, Peter Gilmore a dish of smoked and confit pig jowl, black lipped abalone, koji, fermented grains, shitake, seaweed and Neil Perry served grilled sirloin, braised cheek, oxtail and tea smoked oyster red curry.
Finally, ‘Chapter 3: Sticky and Sweet’ saw diners enjoy a roving celebration of all things sweet in MONA’s Void gallery. Ben Shewry presented The Great Australian ice-cream cart and Blue Wren eggs, Peter Gilmore served fresh lychee, vanilla, rose, coconut alongside prune, salted caramel, jersey cream and from Neil Perry, date tart and mango pandan and coconut.
Guests were also amongst the first in the world to sample the first raw milk blue cheese to be produced here in Australia; King Saul by South Australian cheese makers, Udder delights. Whilst producers including Bruny Island Cheese Company and Holy Goat rounded off the menu with a decadent cheese board.
The event shone the spotlight on Australia’s unique culinary offering, bringing together global influencers with a collective reach of over 400 million fans and followers and showcasing the best of Australian food and wine experiences and produce on offer from every corner of the country.
John O’Sullivan, Managing Director Tourism Australia said the Gala event was a perfect culmination to what has been a highly successful Restaurant Australia campaign, aimed at closing the significant gap in the perceptions of Australia's food and wine offering.
“Our global Restaurant Australia campaign set out to showcase Australia’s impressive food and wine offering to the world, highlighting the depth and diversity of our local producers, chefs and winemakers – last night exceeded our expectations.
“What our Restaurant Australia Head Chefs pulled together and the setting in which the meal was served was nothing short of breathtaking and has truly demonstrated the exceptional quality and unique produce we have on offer here in Australia,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
“We hope all of our guests head home today with the taste of Australia still firmly imprinted on their palate, and we look forward to them sharing their experiences with their many followers.”
The chefs, Ben Shewry, Peter Gilmore and Neil Perry agreed it was a remarkable honour to cook for the world and showcase the unique food and wine offering Australia has to offer travellers from across the globe. Ben Shewry added “In my mind, Australian produce is some of the most interesting in the world. From our unique native ingredients, to the great diversity and natural selection of our different growing regions – my food is created to reflect this as well as instilling a playful sense of what it means to be a cook down under.”
Before culminating in last night’s Gala event at MONA Hobart, the Invite The World To Dinner tour has seen international guests spending the last week travelling the country to experience more than a thousand of Australia’s best food and wine offerings, taking in every State and Territory.
Tourism Australia’s global food and wine campaign, Restaurant Australia aimed to increase international awareness of Australia’s impressive food and wine experiences, and therefore increase tourism into the country.
For further interviews, images or further details please contact:
- Samantha Vassos, 0403 602 345, SamanthaV@ThisIsMango.com.au
- Julian Rosenberg, 0431 602 742, JulianR@ThisIsMango.com.au