Not that long ago, Georgia Barnes was wandering around Regional Flavours as a regular patron. Then in 2015, she became runner-up on MasterChef Australia, and has been presenting at the food festival ever since.

This is the third year Barnes has been involved, and she reckons it will be the best Regional Flavours yet. “It just gets better and better,” she says. “More people are aware that it’s there, and the people involved [this year] are amazing. I can’t wait to see how good it is again.”

This will be the ninth Regional Flavours, running over the weekend (July 15–16) at South Bank. Barnes will be doing a cooking demonstration, where she will create a dessert based on the theme, “Sunshine and Rainbows”. You can catch her at the Sweet Escape on South Bank’s Picnic Island Green from 3.30pm to 4pm on the Saturday.

Dubbing Regional Flavours as her favourite food festival in the country, Barnes knows it inside out. Here are her tips for this year’s program.

Hunting Club
“There’s a craft beer bar inside the Hunting Club and they are doing demonstrations so you can pick up some butchery skills. Darren Robertson from Three Blue Ducks will be in there, and it’s also sponsored by Meat and Livestock Australia and the Charming Squire. [You] could be watching some beef being ‘broken down’ and I think that’s something pretty unique for Regional Flavours this year.”

Little Farmer’s Day Out
“This is a new event this year. Little Farmer’s Day Out is this epicurious garden for kids. They get to plant some carrot seeds and it’s hands-on so a great activity for the whole family.”

Sweet Escape
“This is where you’ll find me but there are also some amazing pastry chefs presenting here this year. So Darren Purchase from Birch & Purchase in Melbourne – he’s one of my favourites – Jocelyn Hancock and some really cool pastry chefs and presenters. It’s all about sweet things and there is also a little sweet cart so you can kind of sit there and eat something delicious and watch little desserts come to life on stage. There’ll be a coffee cart as well.”

The Picnic Patch
“The Picnic Patch is probably one of my favourite spots. It’s all set up like a picnic ready to go. So you walk through the street stalls – there’s always amazing food carts to go and grab something to eat. It’s all different cuisines, so you can pick something up to eat and then sit down in the picnic patch, which I think is really nice. There are mats laid down and you can sit at the little table and just chill out.”

City Sounds
“This is a music stage where you can grab a bottle of wine from one of the wine stalls, go to the market place and grab some food from the stall-holders and then sit down and listen to some awesome local musicians play. The music is always great and I think it creates a really lovely atmosphere.”

Main Stage
“The main stage is where you will catch George [Calombaris], Matt [Preston] and Gary [Mehigan] from MasterChef, and Miguel [Maestre]. And that’s in the piazza so it’s a really cool space. You definitely get a really cool atmosphere. It’s basically like watching live TV.”

Regional Flavours takes over South Bank this weekend July 15–16.