Caper returns to the Northern Rivers from Friday May 17 till Sunday May 26. And for those 10 days, chef Louis Tikaram (of Brisbane’s Stanley) has curated a well-rounded taste of the region. There are first-time collaborations between local and visiting chefs, one-off menus in hot local dining rooms, and live entertainment to keep the party swinging into the night.

“I grew up in Mullumbimby, and I knew it was such a special place for food, there just wasn’t much going on at the time,” Tikaram tells Broadsheet. “When I was living in the States, Ben Devlin – we went to school together – moved back [and opened Pipit], and then Darren [Robertson] moved and opened Three Blue Ducks. There was just so much cool food and chefs moving to the area – I’m just so happy there’s a festival now to celebrate everything good that’s happened.”

Flights from Sydney are as little as $42 one way (and $99 from Melbourne), perfect for a last-minute jaunt to Byron. Here are five events worth the trip.

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Taste of the Cape Opening Party, Friday May 17

The kick-off party – fuelled by canapes and cocktails – will be hosted at Three Blue Ducks at The Farm. It involves a morsel each from 13 of the Northern Rivers’ top restaurants.

Jason Saxby’s coming in from Raes, as is Alanna Sapwell from The Eltham, Matt Stone from You Beauty, David Moyle from The Salty Mangrove and Ben Devlin from Pipit. There’s a welcome to Country followed by live music with local favourites The Versace Boys. Tickets are $130.

Gin Fish: Papa Salt Meets Pip’s Plate, Wednesday May 22

Local chef Pip Sumbak will marry gin and seafood at this open-fire feast hosted at the North Byron Hotel’s beer garden. Sumbak has made a name for herself across the region for her flame-licked events. She’s known for slowly smoking and charring wild venison, wallaby, whole kingfish and then serving them with flavour-packed pickles.

At the event, Sumbak will highlight the importance of sustainable fishing, and use Papa Salt – Margot Robbie’s gin – to cure and garnish her dishes on the day. There will be tunes by Dingo Balaerico while guests sip gin Martinis and toss back oysters before fish wings and smoked local mullet are served straight from the fire. Tickets are $60.

Mumcha at The Salty Mangrove, Saturday May 18

The MO of this collab is yum cha, and it welcomes Mama Ying, the masterful Melbourne “dumpling master” from Shandong Mama, to David Moyle’s kitchen at The Salty Mangrove.

The clever duo will serve an array of dumplings filled with fresh Spanish mackerel, chilli Wagyu beef, Aussie lamb and Mama’s special vegan zucchini. Enjoy them with music by Dingo Balearico, Bloody Marys and house wines. There’s a sitting at 11am and 3pm, and tickets are $65.

Yakitori Party at Wandana Brewing, Tuesday May 21

The cool kids from Trouble San and Moonlight are teaming up with Mullumbimby’s Wandana Brewing Company for a yakitori tap-room party with DJs, beer and skewers straight from the hibachi grill.

There’s a king oyster mushroom with shiitake tare and spring onion, barbeque pork with fermented chilli honey, and Hokkaido scallops with “cafe de Nippon” butter and pops of finger lime. (All ideal alongside a frosty glass of Wandana, a cocktail or wine.) Tickets are $15 and include a small-batch beer on arrival and yakitori.

Seaside Seafood Celebration Lunch at Raes on Wategos, Sunday May 19

Jason Saxby, the beachfront icon’s executive chef, has developed a special menu just for Caper. The decadent lunch kicks off with a cocktail on arrival and celebrates the catch of the day. Expect fresh oysters, sashimi and prawn cocktail, before a second course of Queensland scallops, the renowned Raes crab sanga and grilled Australian bay lobster.

The leisurely long lunch looks over one of the most iconic views in the region, and will be a knockout whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned diner. There are four sittings, and tickets are $190.

Caper takes over the Northern Rivers from Friday May 17 until Saturday May 26.