Some of Melbourne’s best chefs and restaurateurs are donating their time, cooking expertise and dining rooms to raise money for Victoria’s bushfire-affected communities, as part of a new initiative from Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF).
Restaurants for Relief – which comes with the matching hashtag #restaurantsforrelief –includes a series of meals for 10 cooked in your home by the likes of MoVida's Frank Camorra, Matt Wilkinson (who’s just opened Crofter Bar, Shannon Martinez of Smith & Daughters, Maha’s Shane Delia and more.
The series is dubbed “10 for 10”, as each meal costs $10,000, and 100 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to the state government’s Victorian Bushfire Appeal.
“It really is an out-of-the-box experience,” says CEO of Food and Wine Victoria Anthea Loucas Bosha. “It’s not every day that you have Frank Camorra cooking in your kitchen, or George Calombaris, or Shane Delia.”
There are private meals at venues such as Di Stasio Citta, French Saloon, Vue de Monde and Kisumé up for grabs, plus Neil Perry will be auctioning himself off to the highest bidder, for whom he’ll cook an intimate three-course meal.
“We’re just here to bring the industry together and offer a platform for restaurants that want to contribute,” says Loucas Bosha.
Like many Australians, she says she felt helpless watching the unprecedented bushfire crisis unfolding over the summer break and wanted to contribute to the relief effort in any way possible. She says she’s been “blown away” by the Victorian hospitality industry’s generous response to the campaign.
French Saloon is offering a five-course lunch or dinner with matched wine for 16 people for $6000. At Di Stasio Città, for $8000, 10 people can sit down for seven courses plus cocktails, champagne and wine (including a bottle to take home). And Kisumé has a 17-course tasting menu – paired with sake, Japanese whisky, cocktails, champagne and wine – for 12 people going for $10,000.
MFWF, which dropped its 2020 festival line-up late last year, has also promised to support other venues organising events for the cause by sharing details on its social-media platforms under the #restaurantsforrelief hashtag.
Going forward, Loucas Bosha says the festival will take its lead from communities impacted by bushfires in East Gippsland and north-eastern Victoria, as well as the state government, to maintain support during recovery.
“That will be the most important part – getting people back into these areas and supporting local businesses and the farmers,” says Loucas Bosha.
“Gippsland has a very fond place in our heart. We hosted part of our regional program there last year with our Village Feast in Jindivick – they’re very much top of mind and in our thoughts and prayers.
“The best way that you can support is with your back pocket.”
Make bookings and find out more about the Restaurants for Relief campaign via the MFWF website, or donate directly to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal here.