Taste Festival began in London in 2007 and now occurs in 22 cities around the world, with a mandate to bring together some of the city’s favourite restaurants, chefs, food and drinks. This year it celebrates its 10th anniversary, and in Melbourne, a host of big changes.
The 2017 festival will “celebrate the vibrancy of the city’s cuisine, culture, art, music and how they all interrelate,” says Kristy Austin, Taste Festival’s Australia director.
“For us, the change is about reflecting the city across all the creative tiers so you really feel like you’re getting a true taste of Melbourne when you’re walking through the festival. Chefs are creative just as much as artists are, so it’s fitting to reflect these crossovers in the program.”
2017 will see the launch of the Creative Collab Series, where some of the city’s most influential chefs will be paired with creative counterparts in fashion, sculpture, graffiti and illustration to create a dish together.
“We’ve carefully matched partnerships based on varying backgrounds, personalities and creative skillsets, so we’re very excited to see what new territories and flavours can be discovered here,” says Austin.
The new program includes performances by local bands and DJs, artistic workshops, and cooking classes with some of Melbourne’s top chefs (which culminate in a sit-down lunch.) The after-dark food focus will be on late-night snacks and what chefs eat after they finish a late shift.
The Marketplace will play host to 100 food producers, and will also incorporate a new hub for shoppers called the Design Market, which will showcase tableware, textiles and ceramics.
The program will again be split into a lunch session and dinner session, each running for four hours.
Paper artist Benja Harney has been enlisted to create colourful food-related pieces to decorate the festival grounds.
“He brings a beautiful, intricate and conceptual perspective to this idea of cuisine and culture colliding,” says Austin.
Taste’s new location at Yarra Park is more centrally located than Albert Park, home to the festival in previous years. Organisers hope this will entice more visitors and will cater to the festivals’ growing audience.
“It’s a gorgeous park with large tree-lined walkways and shady canopies, which we think will create a special experience walking into the festival,” says Austin.
Taste of Melbourne Festival 2017 will run from November 30 to December 3 at the MCG’s Yarra Park. Tickets go on sale in October.