During the month of February, Barangaroo Reserve plays host to Sunset20°N [sunset twenty degrees north], an exploration of food and culture, honouring Gadigal Country.
The weekend festivities acknowledges the site's history and pays tribute to our First Nations peoples. For this reason, the festival’s culinary director Claire Van Vuuren (Bloodwood Sydney) has created a menu that uses sustainable, locally-sourced products.
For Van Vuuren, Emily McDaniel’s piece Four Thousand Fish first sparked her interest in the headland.
“Her work focused on the effects colonisation had on the harbour, and particularly how the British pulled more than 4,000 fish out of the harbour in one day and overfished the area,” Van Vuuren tells SBS. “The work invited people to ‘return’ fish to the harbour – but the fish that were returned were made of ice.”
People may not know that Barangaroo is home to a rich bounty of Indigenous ingredients - and there are daily tours unearthing them and explaining their culinary and medicinal uses.
“I did one last week and I highly recommend it for learning more about the amazing history of the area,” Van Vuuren says.
To curate the menu, the chef spent time with the Indigenous cultural guides of the site. “I learned a lot about ingredients that used to be available on the headland, including how to keep mosquitos away with native grasses. There are also more and more resources to read and learn about native ingredients, and I think Australian chefs are finally doing this. Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu is a pretty good place to start!”
Each week throughout Sunset20°N, a new female guest chef will be cooking alongside Van Vuuren, including Jane Strode (Fred's, Sydney) from Sydney’s Fred’s, Thi Le from Melbourne’s Anchovy and Analiese Gregory from Tasmania’s Franklin.
Le will be offering a sensory experience with native seeds to build a curry base and serving yabbies with native pepper. Gregory fans can expect octopus and blacklip abalone to hit the coals. The two chefs will also be hosting a couple of cooking demos to teach visitors how to balance native spices in their daily cook ups.
“Visitors to the headland will be surprised at the stunning beauty and serenity of the area. My food and beverage offering has a tough job to try and outshine the spectacular views and sunset.”
A mostly organic, biodynamic wine list from female winemakers across Australia will cool visitors down, as will beers from local Marrickville brewer Philter, founded by female brewer Sam Fuss.
During set breaks between live performances from Sampa the Great, Wallace, Thelma Plum, The Morrisons and Saskwatch (to name a few), Australian DJ Andrew Levins will be powering the fill-in tunes.
You can also learn all about traditional Aboriginal weaving, music and language via free daily workshops; and families will love exploring the Grandmother Tree, a large-scale interactive artwork.
Barangaroo Reserve (entry via Towns Place)
Friday 2 February to Sunday 25 February 2018
Thi Le cooking demonstration: Discover how to blend and balance native spices and traditional curry methods, Sunday 18 February, 2:30 - 3:30pm
Analiese Gregory cooking demonstration: How to prepare and cook abalone, | Sunday 25 February, 2:30pm - 3:30pm