If you’re still not over the postponement of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, which was originally scheduled for March, we have good news. A new, online edition of the festival is going live next week. And even better, all the events are free.
“We still want to be fighting the good fight for hospitality and for food and drink in Melbourne and Victoria,” says the festival's creative director Pat Nourse.
The online edition will be taking place from Monday 25 to Saturday 30 May, mostly over Instagram live. “We don’t want to make light of the situation, hospitality has been hit very hard, but at the same time, there’s a real D.I.Y. flexibility that has come out of this moment and we want to be a part of it,” adds Nourse.
While we might not get the bells and whistles of the physical festival, the crew that has been assembled for the online edition guarantees a good time.
International star Massimo Bottura will be talking about lasagne, while René Redzepi will cover what’s happening at his award-winning Copenhagen restaurant Noma during the pandemic (hint: it involves burgers).
Locally, Baker Bleu’s Mike Russell will be answering all your questions about sourdough-making, which couldn’t be timelier. Cookbook author Julia Busuttil Nishimura will join you for a chat over lunch, Kate Reid will take you behind the scenes at Lune Croissanterie and Shane Delia will host a live cooking class. Victor Liong, Ben Shewry, Helen Goh, Shannon Martinez and Tony Tan will also be chatting about food during the week.
The Online Edition… IRL
While all the online events are accessible for free, you can also enjoy some of the festival IRL (but still from the comfort of your home) by ordering in.
“You can drink some of the same hot buttered rum that Michael Madrusan and I will be drinking while we talk about the wonders of The Everleigh and the ins and the outs of the cocktail world. You can join Cam Smith’s pub trivia at the Builders Arms with sensory challenges and a pub meal. Max Allen and Richard Cornish will debut the new stage show they’ve been producing, The True History of Oysters and Champagne, and you can drink some fabulous Victorian sparkling and eat oysters with that,” says Nourse.
You can also order food prepared specially for the festival, like Mister Bianco’s three-course meal inspired by the film The Italian Job and a tub of foie gras ice-cream from Leonardo's Pizza Palace and Black Axe Mangal.
On 28 May, Tom Sarafian and Brooke Payne will recreate some of Greg Malouf’s best dishes for takeaway at Bar Saracen. “We worked together for about a year at MoMo and I worked with him in London after. I learned a lot from him and he was a huge inspiration for my career. He’s the godfather of Middle Eastern cuisine in Australia,” says Sarafian.
“You can drink some of the same hot buttered rum that Michael Madrusan and I will be drinking while we talk about the wonders of The Everleigh and the ins and the outs of the cocktail world."
The multi-course menu will feature confit salmon tarator, date crème brûlée, and duck b’stilla, which Sarafian is especially excited about.
“If you loved Greg Malouf’s food while he was cooking in Melbourne, or if you didn’t get the chance of trying his food and you have a case of historical FOMO, you can resolve that,” says Nourse.
How to join in?
Most of the events will be held over Instagram live, and some over Zoom. Certain sessions will be recorded and posted online after. Meals and drinks can be ordered directly from participating venues. All the info is on the festival website.